As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, one of the areas that is killing our ability to retain talent is the lack of leadership in the first-line supervisory and managerial ranks. We have talked and talked about leadership over the past two decades but I see organizations that are hemorrhaging people hesitate to do any training of their supervisors and managers. These are the people that impact employee retention the most and can make or break you.

We have seen organization’s unwillingness to spend money on leadership training over the past 30 years. It began after the first big recession in the early 1980s. This has left us with a tremendous void in leaders with the skills needed to deal with a more challenging workforce in the millennial generation. We complain how difficult they are to motivate, etc., etc., etc. but have not given the leaders who must lead them the skills required to do so.

The ability of supervisors and managers to properly handle performance issues, motivate, discipline, communicate, listen, show appreciation and the myriad of other things that you learn in basic leadership training is essential to your retention strategies. We have educated leaders who don’t know how to perform these basic functions of leading. The schools don’t teach it so people learn it from the people that they work for. Unfortunately, they haven’t been trained because we stopped training two generations of leaders ago.

Perhaps the crisis that is starting to rear its ugly head in the way form of employee retention will wake the people up at the top. We are in severe need of basic leadership training for supervisors and middle-level management if we want to deal with the challenges of a difficult to lead generation of employees.