Whether you have one person doing a specific job for you or regularly have many people you are responsible for, how you lead will make a difference.
A study by the Gallup Organization shows that immediate supervisors are the single largest influence on an employee's decision to quit. In other words, people leave their supervisors, not their institutions or companies.
The principles of being a good supervisor can be taken from lessons first heard from parents and grade school teachers says Beverly Kaye, co-author of Love 'em or Lose 'em: Getting Good People to Stay (Berrett-Koehler). Add those lessons to those from mentors to get the basics for leadership, which include:
- Trust them to do the job. The Gallup poll shows that just 15 percent of workers said they had the opportunity to use their strengths every day; 69 percent couldn't use them once a week. Decide who can do a job, and let them do it.
- Make sure people have what they need to do the job: direction, knowledge, resources and support.
- Connect with people. Make time to take an interest in each person you must come in contact with every day. A few minutes of conversation creates a sense of community and helps you to know them better.
- Lead individuals. People are different. Some want more feedback. Some want more independence. Recognize individual needs for training, flexible scheduling, or how much recognition each needs.
- Thank them. When people have worked hard and done a good job, thank them for their efforts. Positive reinforcement goes a long way toward generating enthusiasm.