Is Your High-Performing Manager at Risk of Leaving the Organization?

Organizations can presume that seemingly silent, high-performing managers translate to active engagement and career satisfaction.

However, that can be a fallacy in thinking.

Is your high-performing manager at risk of leaving the organization? While only your manager can answer this question, there are organizational aspects that could trigger a leave decision.

The time for action is before your manager considers and accepts an outside opportunity.

Why? When the manager accepts a role at another organization, and your company counters the offer, the chances of retaining the employee go down.

According to a Harvard Business Review article, 50% of employees who accept their existing employer’s counteroffer will resume looking for a job within two months.

So, it is prudent to proactively explore and address factors that could influence a manager’s voluntary turnover decision before it happens.

Pain Points

Lack of Learning and Career Advancement Opportunities  

The opportunity for professional growth and career advancement motivates many managers to achieve the organization’s goals actively. That opportunity could include upward progression, lateral movement, additional scope in people leadership, or greater scope in leading a process. When there appears to be limited room for career advancement at the current employer, it opens the door to entertain movement to another organization.

Action. Be transparent. Establish a clear path for career advancement and discuss career goals and development plans. Understand your manager’s needs, interests, and career aspirations. Help your managers set and achieve meaningful milestones in their careers. Note that these milestones are from the manager’s view – what is important to them. If aspiring to a higher leadership level is vital to the manager, then help ready them for their next opportunity. Support ongoing learning and development through training, workshops, conferences, mentorship, and coaching.

Rising Expectations and Burdensome Workloads

Managing remote, hybrid, and on-site employee models, with attention to employee and personal well-being, are added dimensions to people leadership. Responsibilities become even more demanding as the organization and staff members’ expectations rise. Long work hours and being in a mode of not ever being able to turn off could lead to burnout.

Action. Realize the changing demands of the evolving workplace and the need to help managers discern what requires immediate attention and what can be scheduled, delegated to others, or eliminated from a to-do list altogether. Promote a culture that enables leading effectively, focusing on the right things and doing those things right, working with and through others to achieve business objectives. Minimize and alleviate policies, processes, and procedures that promote micromanaging tendencies. Give managers the latitude to decide how to establish an operating environment to effect active employee engagement and commitment, making it possible for everyone to facilitate priority management and self-care.

Perceived or Actual Compensation Inequities

An aspect of management is keeping their employees’ compensation commensurate with their contribution level, skills, experience, and responsibilities. Managers should receive the same yardstick treatment. Perceived inequities in what managers contribute and actual compensation create a gap that leads to lackluster engagement, productivity, and performance.

Action. Establish competitive compensation structures. Regularly review salaries and benefits to align them with industry standards, market rates, and internal equity. Recognize and reward outstanding performance with bonuses and merit increases. Identify and remedy total reward issues using objective considerations.

Lack of Recognition

Managers should determine what their employees value as recognition and follow accordingly. Likewise, it is essential to assess your managers’ recognition preferences.

Presuming there is no need to recognize a manager for a job well done because of their organizational level could leave the manager feeling undervalued, underappreciated, and overlooked. Eventually, this could become a trigger to find a workplace that recognizes and acknowledges their effort – rather than take their work (and them) for granted.

Action. Get personal. Determine your manager’s recognition preferences. The “platinum rule” applies – treat them as they want, not as you would like others to do for you. Recognize and appreciate their contributions through formal and informal means in the ways they prefer.

Clash Between Organizational Culture and Personal Values

A misalignment between workplace culture and personal values could present a significant source of conflict. Strained relationships with leaders and colleagues could become a source of stress that neither serves the organization nor the manager well. Additionally, it may become increasingly challenging for the manager to find meaning and fulfillment in their work. Consequently, there could be signs of subtle resistance and reduced commitment to engaging in organizational change and other initiatives.

Action. Be proactive in engaging the manager in open, honest communication without fearing repercussions. That means – leadership words must align with actions. Facilitate a non-confrontational conversation to understand the manager’s concerns and values. Revisit and clarify the organization’s core values and expectations. Look for ways to achieve alignment through understanding and devising a way forward together.

The Time is Now

While change is inevitable, paying attention to factors that could signal an opportunity for involuntary turnover is good business. Your managers are stakeholders who ultimately influence the business’ bottom-line results and contribute to the organization’s brand in the community.

Get ahead of the curve before dissatisfaction with the “as is” leads to unexpected, unwanted turnover action.

Need help? Contact us.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.