The 4 Leadership Mistakes Impacting Employee Retention

Common mistakes that leaders unknowingly make without realizing the negative repercussions it can have on employee welfare.

Danielle Riha
September 8, 2022

In our webinar on employee retention, Randy Goruk shared the three most important leadership strategies for employee retention and then shared four shortcuts for getting there. In the final portion of the presentation, he covered common mistakes that leaders unknowingly make without realizing the negative repercussions it can have on employee welfare. Here are the four biggest leadership mistakes to avoid if you want to see a positive change in employee retention at your organization:

1. Not Continuing to Develop & Refine Your Own Leadership Skills

Randy says that going to one conference a year, or taking one refresher course every couple of years is not enough. He encourages leaders to subscribe to the five hour rule, which is “the concept of spending at least one hour every workday consciously learning new things or practicing various activities. Doing so can help you gain new skills and knowledge, which can lead to both personal and professional development. It can also help you keep your knowledge on certain subjects up to date.”

A few ways you can do this are by:

  • Reading
  • Listing to podcasts
  • Attending seminars
  • Attending networking events
  • Watching webinars
  • Spending time with a mentor or coach

Randy points out that one hour per day, five times per week equates to 260 hours, or 32.5 days per year based on an eight hour day! He said:

If you could commit to and accomplish five hours of learning and growth a week, you've got basically a full month of professional development training every year. You just have to figure out what you would like to get better at. Maybe it's listening, maybe it's coaching skills, maybe it's delegation skills.

2. Not Tackling the Little Things

Not tackling the little things means overlooking problems that seem insignificant now but can fester and eventually lead to employee quits. Common examples include:

  • Departmental silos
  • Outdated policies
  • Poor communication from upper management
  • Bad bosses and managers

Don’t make excuses or look the other way when you notice these types of problems. Tackle them head on before your best employees lose their patience and quit.

3. Leadership Inconsistency

When you have inconsistency between different leaders, you get:

  • conflicting messages
  • differences in the way people are treated
  • inconsistency in the way you make decisions

Randy also advised:

Whenever you're inconsistent in your messages or you're inconsistent in whatever it is that you're trying to do, your credibility as a leader is negatively impacted. And I want you to be careful about making sure you don't make this mistake, because if you do it's a very hard thing to re-earn that trust. It's a very hard thing to prove your character.

4. Promoting Somebody Who Isn't Ready

Kind of like over-selling a job to a candidate, promoting someone who isn’t ready is only setting them (and their team) up for failure. Avoid making this classic managerial mistake by anticipating the need to (eventually, at some point) advance some employees. Identify the ones who are interested in that, and start training them now so they’re ready when the time comes.

Hear more on how to manage for retention by watching the full presentation on-demand:

A Leader's Guide to Employee Retention Success  A  Webinar with Randy Goruk


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