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They come into your office nervous, stammering, and uncomfortable.  Some of them have letters of resignation promising two weeks, others are carrying their family photographs and juggling their plants in copy machine boxes, ready to make a rocket fire exit.  In this land of opportunity employees moving on and moving out are quite common, but if you have a revolving door of unhappy staff, don’t ask yourself, “Did I hire the wrong person?”   Ask yourself, “Am I being the wrong person?”  Chances are, it’s not them…it’s you.

As the boss, the CEO, the manager, the president, whatever Big Cheese title is your claim to fame, it can be difficult (if not downright impossible) to understand what it is about your personality or management style that has the associates posting resumes on the internet (on your dime) and devising their escape plan.  Let’s start with the obvious and see if any of these traits define you:

BELITTLING:  Does your criticism go beyond making helpful suggestions?  If you are rolling your eyes, sighing, folding your arms, and talking to your staff like you would a two year old, belittling behavior like this can suck the life and enthusiasm out of even the strongest personality.  Practice on your dog if you have to, but learn how to communicate in a positive light.  A little rehearsal can go a long way in maintaining healthy, respectful relationships within your office.

MICRO MANAGING: This overused term needs no explanation.  Unless your employees are coming to you for assistance or asking for a bit of direction, back off and let them do their jobs.

BULLYING: You walk into a room and the conversation about the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy comes to a screeching halt.  The employees scatter like cockroaches because you are wearing a stern frown…  their chitchat and non-work-related jibber jabber is nonproductive and certainly they must have work to do.   Lighten up!  You hired people, not robots, and a little down time is good for the soul.  Try joining a conversation on occasion and see if this approach changes how they look at you.

IGNORING:   Woah….you can’t micromanage and you can’t ignore?  GEEEEZ who knew it would be so tough?  It’s a fine line between letting your team work without breathing down their necks, and being a manager that knows they value feedback as well.  Think of yourself as the art teacher who peeks over the shoulder of the budding artist student only to murmur, “Nice job.   I like how you’ve blended this together” and then moves on.

An office is a family.  In fact, your team is spending much more time with the office family then at their homes.   Give them a reason to stay, and a reason to want to come back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.   It is inevitable that there will be some who will leave to pursue other dreams and they must move on, and that’s okay; but if the revolving door continues, it isn’t them….it’s you.

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