Managing Employee Results Is Just Half of the Leader's Job

You Also Need to Develop, Engage, Recognize, and Retain Employees

Diverse business people raising hands during meeting where they are developed, engaged, and retained.
••• Steve Debenport / Getty Images

What is leadership? Probably more than you ever imagined.

Nothing Is More Important Than Making Your Numbers

Is your team meeting sales targets? How's that marketing campaign going? Are customer service ratings high? Were those government reports submitted on time and accurately?

Most managers know how to manage these types of numbers. They make spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations that show that all of their cashiers can scan 17.9 items per minute, or that their retention rate is 75 percent when people call to cancel. Those measurements are great, but managing results is only half of the battle.

It's true that if you can't get good results, you'll get booted from management, but there are so many other issues that you need to worry about. And the secret is, if you don't worry about these things, eventually your results will suffer as a result of your neglect.

Employee Development

Yes, you want good employees who stay with you for long periods of time, but you also want to develop them so that they can move on. That seems counter-intuitive. Why on earth would you want to prepare someone for their next job? The reason? You need them to do the job that you hired them to do.

  1. If you don't give them development opportunities, your best employees will leave anyway. Very few people want to stay in the same job forever.
  2. People, especially those in low-level jobs, want to climb the career ladder and they'll do it with or without your help. If you help them, you can get all of the benefits for your department as well as help them to find opportunities within the company.

Remember, you want all areas of the company to succeed. If you are viewed as a people developer and a talent finder, your peers and superiors will think you are awesome. Additionally, someday you'll want a promotion, and that's much more likely if you've trained an employee who can take your place.

Employee Retention

Development is one key to employee retention. However, that's not the only factor. Managers need to set goals that are realistic and achievable and then coach their employees on how to achieve them or their employees will quit. 

Employee retention is a much bigger deal than many managers think. Turnover is expensive. Sure, it doesn't come as a line item in your budget, but your department is much more productive when you have people who know what they are doing.  

The department makes better contributions when you're not spending hours and hours interviewing new candidates, training new employees, and handling the fall-out when clients are re-assigned to a new employee again. Plus, you save the real cost in recruiter time, your time, and headhunter fees.

Employee Engagement

Who cares if your employees like their jobs, as long as they get the work done, right? Wrong. A manager needs to make sure her employees are engaged in what they do.

Engaged means far more than just putting widgets together. Frankly, you can train almost anyone to perform any rote task, no matter how technical. What you want are employees who care about what they are doing. These employees will figure out how to make things better. They'll go the extra mile. They will make your department better off than it was before.

Employees who care about their jobs, their clients, and their company will perform at a higher level. This often means stepping back and letting them have autonomy over their responsibilities. A micro-managed employee will not be engaged. An employee whose boss takes credit for everything will not be engaged.

Don't Be Just Good, Be a Great Manager

A good manager wants to hit the right numbers, of course. A great manager wants to hit those numbers and do it the right way. Doing it the right way, by taking care of the employees, ensures that she'll hit the numbers today and ​also going forward.

Treating employees poorly means eventually you'll lose your best employees, and that won't help your bottom line. At all.