Great bosses create engaged employees

The Gallop pollsters tell us what we all suspected: 75 percent of all employees who leave their jobs are really leaving their boss.  

And when I read exit interviews from departing employees, the reasons for leaving usually fall into five categories: not feeling valued, not being challenged, poor communication, little or no feedback, and not being allowed to have input or participate in decision making. All of these rest squarely on the shoulders of the manager. 

But what about all the wonderful bosses out there? Since National Bosses Day was October 16th, we asked readers of our weekly newsletter to tell us some of their stories about their great bosses. Here are a few of their submissions:  

“My boss asked about my dog one morning after knowing he was sick the day before.  And when it's 30 degrees below zero outside and he leaves first, he'll start our cars for us.  Sometimes it's the little things that have nothing to do with the actual job.” 

This is a great example of a manager who cares about his employees as people, not just “human resources” to get the job done. He knows people who feel cared about will care more about their work. 

Here’s another letter:

“I have worked as a secretary or administrative assistant for more than 30 years. Early in my career, I had the good fortune to be hired by a major trucking company, to be the assistant to the newly hired public relations director. I enjoyed writing, but had never worked in the PR area before.

Ruth and I became fast friends, but she had the ability to keep the manager/subordinate relationship separate from our friendship. That was the first thing she taught me. She took the time to train me in so many ways, that by the time she left the company five years later, I felt I had earned the equivalent of a college degree in public relations.

Part of Ruth's duties was to give tours of our corporate office to national account customers (the big, big ones). After we had worked together for about six months, she realized she would be out of town the day of a customer visit. "You can handle it," she told me, and if she had a moment's hesitation about giving such an important assignment to me for the first time, she never showed it.

At the time, I was very introverted and would have never have even considered I was ready to do something like this. Even though I had accompanied Ruth and customers on tours and saw how she conducted them, that was very different from leading one myself. Of course, I expressed my reservations to her. She gave me a few pointers, but the neat thing was she didn't make a big deal of it.

The day of the tour came. Although I was nervous, it went off without a hitch. The very best part, however, was that when Ruth returned and I gave her the good news, she immediately said, "I knew you could do it." That vote of confidence did more to bring out this "introvert" than anything else in my career.

That was just the stepping stone. Over the years, I have been my state's president of IAAP, a professional administrative support organization, led teams at work, and now teach training classes. I really don't think I could have done any of this without Ruth's encouragement and faith in me.”

I love this letter. It demonstrates my deep belief that growing people and helping them surpass their own expectations is at the heart of great leadership. This manager not only got great results from this employee, she changed her life. Who can ask for a better legacy? 

To all those great bosses out there, I applaud you. And if you are lucky enough to work for a wonderful boss, take the time to tell the person what you appreciate most.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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