To hide my tears after encounters with one particular editor during my internship years, I would retreat to the restroom at the back of the newsroom.
I hated every single interaction with this manager. I was miserable under her tutelage. She was the opposite in every way of the fictional character Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis in the Apple TV Plus television show that won an Emmy for outstanding comedy series. The show also landed Sudeikis an Emmy for outstanding lead actor.
The series received 20 Emmy nominations, all well deserved. But the show stands out not just for its acting and directing but also for what it depicts — a manager who strives to create an emotionally safe workplace.
Ted Lasso is an American football coach hired to run an English soccer team. Lasso’s charming coaching style and endless optimism win over the mediocre team and fans.
Sudeikis’s Lasso had me at his handwritten, slightly crooked “Believe” sign posted over his office door. His corny expressions and pep talks to the soccer players — even after a brutal loss — make you wish you had a boss like him.
“When it comes to locker rooms, I like ’em just like my mother’s bathing suits. I only wanna see ’em in one piece,” Lasso says in one episode as he tries to end a feud between two players.
Lasso’s personality is so sunny you need a pair of sunglasses in his presence.
So, what’s this got to do with personal finance, you might ask?
Well, many people resign — sometimes without another job — because they just can’t take the abuse from their boss. Others retire too early and without the financial security they should have, concluding that staying is not worth the cost to their mental health.
Every year, U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion to voluntary turnover, according to a 2019 Gallup report.
“And the most astounding part is that most of this damage is self-inflicted,” the report said.
Conservatively, the cost of replacing a departing employee can range from one-half to two times the staffer’s annual salary.
“A 100-person organization that provides an average salary of $50,000 could have turnover and replacement costs of approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year,” Gallup estimated.
Over half of exiting employees who quit say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving job, Gallup found. And these folks said that in the three months leading up to their departure, no one spoke to them about their job satisfaction or discussed their future with the organization. If you don’t feel wanted, why stay?
The pandemic has made things even worse. Quit rates are high. Realizing how short life is, lots of employees are opting to leave their job rather than endure the low pay or a tyrannical supervisor — or both.
In a July report titled “The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Really the ‘Great Discontent,’” Gallup found that 48 percent of American workers are actively job-searching or watching for other employment opportunities. The dissatisfaction — not with pay but with workplace conditions — cuts across all categories, from customer service employees to highly professional positions.
Here’s an interesting factoid from Gallup’s resignation report: “It takes more than a 20% pay raise to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them, and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers.”
Think about that.
Companies are losing people to competitors who don’t have to offer a pay raise, just the prospect of a better working environment.
People are rightly reassessing how and for whom they want to work. Workers aren’t expecting the perfection you get when a room full of writers can craft the characteristics of the best boss. Employees understand conflicts will occur.
“You don’t need to be best friends to be great teammates. Heck, even Woody and Buzz got under each other’s plastic,” Lasso says, gently trying to get the feuding players to find something to respect about each other.
If you want to fix the “Great Resignation” trend, get your managers to address why people are so discontent. It’s likely that the reason people want to resign is that they have a bad boss.
Workers want to be respected. They want to know they are valued. They shouldn’t be yelled at, belittled or taken for granted. And certainly not sent running to the bathroom in tears. If your management style deflates an employee, you are doing your job poorly. Instead, be like Ted Lasso.