I was talking with Ashley, a new hire, about how she liked her job. She confided that she wasn’t happy and was considering leaving. The reason? Her manager. Sadly, this wasn’t surprising.
The research is clear. When you look at studies of why employees leave their jobs it’s often because of their manager. There is a famous saying, “People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.” In many cases, the employee feels he or she can’t communicate honestly with their boss.
Here’s what happened with Ashley. She was working with a member. Her manager came over and said to her, “That’s not right.” And then took over the conversation.
Ashley was embarrassed and pissed. She felt like she got called out publicly in front of a member. She also felt her training didn’t cover important information she should have known.
And here’s the most important part, Ashley didn’t say anything to her boss … not right away. She stewed for two days, considering quitting. But she ultimately decided to say something to her manager.
To her manager’s credit, he heard her and apologized. But then he followed up by saying, “Next time speak up right away.”
Ashley does not like conflict. She is an internal processor. Ashley’s manager has a spontaneous “speak your mind” style of handling conflict. Without realizing it, her manager is asking Ashley to adapt to his preferred style of handling conflict.
So what could her manager have done differently?
If someone delays coming to you with an issue, it’s a good sign they are an internal processor. Reward them for speaking up. Her manager could have simply said, “Thank you for saying something.” OR “Thank you for saying something. I prefer to deal with problems as they arise, but I’m glad you spoke up.”
Be aware of your own conflict communication style. Learn more about the important link between company culture and how you handle conflict.