A few days ago I called Mike, the plant manager of a sawmill in northern California. The message on his voice mail said, "Mike is no longer with our company. If you want to talk to someone else, push 0 for the operator". I was really surprised. I ultimately caught up with Mike at the sawmill he is now managing in southeastern Oregon. We had a great visit, talked about how he ended up there, the scope of his responsibilities, and some of the goals management is expecting him to achieve as the new Plant Manager. He told me how his new employer had pursued him. They called and emailed him repeatedly over several months. He finally agreed to meet with the senior management team at their office in Seattle for a first interview. At his second interview they said, "We will call you in a few days." "I told them 'I bet you will never call me again.' Before I got back to my hotel, they'd already called me on my cell phone and said they wanted to make me an offer. The salary, bonus, and moving negotiations were easy," he said. Mike went on to explain the details of how the whole hiring negotiations worked, and how he's enjoying his new challenges there. The moment in our conversation that was the most poignant was when he said, "After I turned in my resignation," speaking of his former employer, "if they had ever asked me to stay, I would have stayed!" Of course I don't know the whole story. It may have been that the president of his former company felt it was time for a change. They may have
felt hurt that he would even consider a change – "If he's looking, he can't be committed here". They may have felt that it would have been useless to ask him to stay. Who knows? What I do know is that this is just one more example of how important it is for us to keep meaningful, open communication with everyone on the team. Empowering leaders continue to provide associates with feedback on the work they are doing, mentoring and modeling peers for progress, coaching for improvement, and correction when redirection is needed.
Is it possible that the only reason Mike even considered the offer in the first place was to see if it would get his boss's attention? Stranger things have happened.
How would you rate your communication with your manager?
Keep those lines of communication open and you will improve performance and morale. Everyone will feel more secure and experience greater satisfaction in their jobs. You will reduce turnover, improve morale, and the performance of your team will continue to improve.