Why a great manager is the best professional reference

We all know the facts even if we try and not think about it all the time. The managers especially don’t want to regard the statistics as it gives them serious head ache. But yes, around 65-85% of your employees, on average, are constantly open for new job opportunities. (Source)

And to make it even worse, and no news here either, is that it is the best ones who get approached most often. (Source) Recruiters are onto your employees like crazy. In a world where CEO’s have become more understanding of what people within HR always known, talents are worth gold. The fear to look like a job hopper is also reducing with driven talents. It is a a much bigger focus on learning, doing something worthwhile with your time and constantly developing professionally rather than being loyal just for the sake of it.

What is the summary of this? It is very obvious. It means Great People are going to Find and Do Great Things. Either with you or someone else. Whether you like it or not.

The best and most compelling things you as a manager can do in order to have a highly talented person in your team feel you are the right choice to remain with for some time to come is to be committed to goals in line with this team members personal goals. The more alike you think the more you’ll understand each other and will approve of each other. It goes without saying: Your team member must feel that you are not only interested but committed to and caring about his/her professional progression and development.

That is why your dialogue must be centered around this individual needs and Must-Do’s for reaching and growing towards personally set goals. The corporate goals and tasks this person is going to dedicate time into should be aligned with this. And then, the job doesn’t become “just a job”, it becomes the platform for this individuals possibility to grow into what he/she desires. Then, and only then, will the employer be regarded as a desired pillar rather than a “unwanted must”.

And most imperative of all is that every manager understands that as soon as a team members personal goals becomes impossible to align with possible corporate goals, this person is going to leave eventually. Any bribery such as higher salary for trying to make the individual stay is only going to buy you little more time and probably not with the same dedication nor commitment as once was there when the personal goals were perfectly aligned with the business.

And when this happens the most important insight of them all should be the obvious outcome for a manager of the moderna era; You must embrace and assist this individual in continuing his/her professional progression going forward. People are bigger than employers. One day a new job opening opens up and either you know plenty of driven professionals who you’ve helped and who are dedicated to answer a phone call and hear you out as you propose a new challenge – or you don’t.

The peoples phone calls being answered are those who chose to believe in you, who invested in you and who chose your success – even as the last thing they wanted for real was to let you go.

A great manager doesn’t think: I -Must- keep my greatest people here whatever the cost. A great manager should think: I must do what I can to help my greatest people grow whatever the cost.

And that investment and mindset is what is going to make people believe in you, follow you and have your back if/when something new arises.

Sometimes you must be ready to let go. And the true way to show you care about an individual is to be this persons best ever reference – even as you rather keep him/her in your team.

Therefore, a great manager is always a great reference for great people. Always. Because they know that business is about people. It is not about a job here in the now. It is about the job that will be done between them in the future, because of your mutual trust and respect for each other.

It’s about people. And relations.

Thank you for reading,

Daniel Sonesson