Company culture plays a huge role in overall employee happiness and productivity. Just take a look at the best places to work in 2013. But when it comes to retention, people leave jobs because of their direct boss more than anything else.Mike Dubyak, CEO of WEX Inc., spoke with the Wall Street Journal’s Leslie Kwoh about how to retain top talent and be a good boss. He told her that when he first started his job, “more than 40 per cent of employees said they planned to leave in less than a year. It smacked me right in the face.” Now that number is closer to 10 per cent. “We’ve stemmed it by being more realistic, by putting the right processes in place, and by making sure people know it’s a two-way street,” he told Kwoh.
One of the biggest barriers Dubyak has had to overcome as a boss is perfectionism, and learning how to delegate effectively. At one point, he says, “I was probably working 85 hours a week. I’d get up early Saturday morning to work, go skiing, then come back. I’d be working in the car. There’s a point when you realise you can’t do everything yourself.”
According to the book Tribal Leadership, which is considered the ultimate leadership manual by some CEOs, at that point Dubyak moved from being a Stage Three CEO to a Stage Four CEO (there are five stages; at the highest level you’re working for and inspiring the highest levels of productivity and innovation). The authors write:
“People at the middle of Stage Three have an intense focus on time management, since they believe that they can rely only on themselves. … No matter how hard they work, they can’t punch through the barrier of a day that has only 24 hours. They’re hit the point of diminishing returns, so the harder they work, the less effective they are, and the less their efforts seem to matter.”
Dubyak says that now he mostly protects his weekends and has a better system in place for evaluating other managers. He’ll ask employees: “Does your manager gives you the tools to succeed? Are you getting regular feedback? Is it an open, transparent environment? Do you have a voice?”
Read the full WSJ interview here.
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