Most people don’t quit companies, they quit bad managers. Take this quick quiz to find out how good you are as a people manager.

Share story

Think you’re good at managing people? Most managers, when asked, provide a glowing commentary of their stellar people management skills.

Yet research has demonstrated the opposite. A Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that 50 percent had left their jobs to get away from their manager to improve their lives at some point in their career.

Poor people management skills also negatively affect employee happiness and productivity, with managers accounting for up to 70 percent of variance in employee engagement scores.

Want to find out how good you are as a people manager? See how many of these five questions you can answer with “yes.”

Have you clearly defined and communicated the vision and strategy for your group, department or organization? This doesn’t mean emailing your team a few PowerPoint slides with some words about vision, mission and values. It means asking them to work with you to define the strategy, strategic objectives and the key initiatives the group will need to accomplish together. The higher the level of participation in strategy sessions, the more committed employees will be to helping the group or organization succeed.

Have you worked with each employee to help him or her understand the role they play in contributing to the success of the organization? According to a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 53 percent of workers are unable to make the connection between their day-to-day duties and how they impact the company’s financials. To answer yes to this question, you need to have worked one-on-one with each employee to help them create their performance goals, which should be tied to the department or organization’s overall strategy and objectives.

Do you meet regularly with each employee for progress discussions? Being a good people manager means being a good teacher/coach/mentor. This doesn’t mean meeting once a year with employees to provide performance feedback — it means holding regularly scheduled two-way communication sessions, providing ongoing feedback year-round, giving credit where it is due, and being unafraid to have difficult conversations.

Do you empower your employees to succeed by delegating challenging and meaningful work? People want to succeed and they want to continue learning. If you don’t provide opportunities for growth and help employees build on their strengths, then you won’t be seen as a good people leader.

Do you recognize great work? This doesn’t mean throwing out a “nice job” comment every now and then. Backhanded compliments — an insult disguised as a compliment — also don’t count. Recognizing great work means providing recognition and rewards that reinforce positive behavior, increase employees’ sense of progress and keep them motivated.

There’s a saying that people don’t quit companies, they quit bad managers. Don’t let poor people management skills be the reason employees resign or leave your team.

Lisa Quast is a certified executive coach, and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at