I was speaking with a director at a large company. He was dealing with the issue of employee retention and acquisition in a highly competitive industry. One issue is that they hear is that people are leaving because of the managers and their lack of skills (shocking, I know). He approached the Executive Team and suggested that maybe they focus on finding or building people managers.
He told me that they looked at him like he was crazy. One even asked why they would waste a resource on someone who only focused on people?
I'd like to say that this company was the exception to the rule - they aren't. Most companies still can't fathom that managers should be people managers first and functional managers second. They view people managers as a "waste of a resource".
To be clear, these leaders are not 80 year old white men who haven't figured out that the world has changed. These are reasonably young and diverse people who just haven't fully caught on to what is happening.
The way to differentiate yourself is to focus on managing your people as people (help them feel like they belong, help them reach their goals, treat them with respect and individuality, etc.).
The execs I mentioned in the story? They will still be struggling to find people for the next several years and not