Easy Tips to Stop Team Members from Running for the Exit

BY Kathy Crosett
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The new year is just around the corner. And you know what that means. Your team members will be making all sorts of resolutions. Looking for a new job is the one resolution you don’t want any of your best team members to make. How can you avoid losing key team members? You might start by checking your management style.

In an Inc​.com post, Marcel Schwantes outlines several mistakes managers make that drive people away. He reminds readers of the now famous Gallup poll results which reveal that employees tend to leave because of managers, not because of the job they’re doing or they company they are with. So what, exactly, makes employees miserable enough to dust off the resume?


We might spend about 1/​3 of our lives on the job with co-​workers, but that doesn’t mean we should be freely expressing our opinions and emotions on a daily basis. Team members don’t want to hear you screaming and yelling, about anything. Sure, you’re under a lot of pressure to make your numbers or ship out the next product. Things will go wrong. You don't get to respond by hurling your coffee cup against the wall when something doesn't please you. Team members also don’t like it when you hide in your office and sulk. Your management title carries a responsibility. You should be able to control your emotions and lead steadily, whether your operations are running smoothly or not.

Goal Setting

As a manager, it’s your job to set goals and expectations for everyone on your team. Don’t assume that each person understands the details of a new project, because "it’s kind of like what you did last week.” Take the time to talk one-​on-​one with each team member. Review your exact expectations for completing a project. Check in with people on a regular basis. If you hand out assignments and then close your office door, people will be afraid to talk to you. If a project is particularly difficult, resort to the old-​school ‘management by walking around’ method. Stop by cubicles, conference rooms, or work stations and ask how things are going. Remind your team members that you’re ready to help.


It’s not enough to set goals for your team and then offer to help when someone holds up a white flag. You may be busy with your own projects or rushing to meet another deadline. As a manager, you need to change your priorities. When a team member has a problem, slow down and listen. She could be offering a new and creative way to solve a problem. If so, you need to hear about it, acknowledge her contribution and make sure to share her success with others. Your team member could also be having a personal problem that is impacting his ability to do his job. Take the time to listen. Think about the situation, and possible ways you and the organization can help, before making any suggestions. Above all, make sure you show that you truly care.

You don’t have to be best friends with the people on your team. But, as a leader you should be setting an example and inspiring others to contribute to the organization’s success. As the new year rolls around, should you make a few resolutions to improve your management style?