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Be the Manager No One Wants to Leave (with Donna Anderson)
Company Culture Training and Education

Be the Manager No One Wants to Leave (with Donna Anderson)

Justin Nedell

With ‘quiet quitting’ trending across the internet, residual effects of burnout lingering from the pandemic, and a continued transformation of the real estate market as we know it, attracting and retaining talent should be on the minds of every manager and leader of title companies across the country.

Employee engagement isn’t a new concept – Gallup has been keeping tabs on it for over a decade – yet, 2021 was the first year they recorded a decrease in employee engagement.

We spoke with Donna Anderson of Title Insurance Underwriter, Doma, to discuss the qualities she identified as essential for great managers. While employees may feel the effects of burnout and worry related to the changes in the market, these qualities could be the magic potion to keeping them around.

 

Missed the Title Talks podcast? Listen to it here.

 

A Little About Our Expert

Donna comes from humble beginnings. She started working in a real estate office, moving her way up to training employees across the company. From there, the title industry was the next step, where she assisted in the opening of 16 joint ventures, trained employees, and later sold title production software, among other opportunities.

Through the years, Donna has become very passionate about management styles, people success, agency support, and overarchingly company culture. She has spoken at various events based on her years of experience with both good and bad management. She thinks it’s important to empower women within the title industry especially.

According to Donna, when managers think about their duties as a manager, it’s really about relationships, not managing tasks and projects.

 

“When your people understand that your primary goal is their success, then they’re going to want to do everything they can to be the best employee they can.” - Donna Anderson

 

Here are a few of the highlights from Donna’s advice on how to be a manager that no one wants to leave.

 

🤝 Cultivate Trust 

Donna began the interview by explaining a major element of a manager’s success with their employees. Trust. Trust takes time, though; employees will naturally be hesitant to trust a company and a manager right away.

Over the last several decades, we’ve seen a shift in employee loyalty towards companies, meaning building trust should be priority number one for current and future employees. That trust will foster a greater sense of connection with the company and its mission.

Ways to cultivate trust:

  • Always have an employee’s back when mistakes are made
  • Create an environment where they feel comfortable opening up about their mistakes
  • Promote honesty, transparency, and safety in the workplace

 

🦅 Let Your Employees Fly Freely

Donna thinks that many managers within the title industry boil down to two types; insecure managers and secure managers. Secure managers tend to trust their employees in the workplace, whereas insecure managers can be more focused on micromanagement and inserting themselves into the details of a project.

It’s important to foster an environment where employees have the freedom to make decisions and a manager that believes in their choices. It’s another stepping stone to creating a relationship of trust between managers and employees.

There is also something to be wary of as a manager – being too friendly. Donna said in her past, she focused too much on being liked and making decisions based on employees’ feelings, not the team as a whole. This can cause an unhealthy dynamic within the team where decisions affect some people more than others.

 

🧐 Understand Your Employees at a Deeper Level

One of Donna’s favorite topics is how to understand your employees and their work styles. This means understanding their communication style, their preferences in collaboration, and their personality traits. A great way to not only uncover this, but also initiate an open dialogue around it, is to utilize a personality test like the Gallup Cliftonstrengths or DiSC assessment.

Have your new employees run through an assessment like these after they’ve been working on your team for a little while. Once they’ve completed the assessment, consider their strengths and talk about them one-on-one and as a team. This analysis and recognition will boost collaboration and steer future conversations to be more personal.

 

🗣️ Communicate With Intention

Communication is the backbone of every company and team within. Because of this, communicating with intention is so important when you’re acting as a manager of others. Everyone communicates differently, and messages in the digital age can easily be misinterpreted.

Donna echoed the importance of communication within a team and, as a manager, tying it back to understanding your employees at a deeper level. Knowing their communication styles, preferred channels of communication, and empathizing with their personal lives is essential for making your team feel comfortable with you as their leader.

Consider several things when communicating with an employee:

  • Where do they fall on a personality test?
  • What generation are they from?
  • What might be going on in their personal life?
  • Does this person prefer messages, emails, video/phone calls, or face-to-face communication?

 

Thinking through these questions as a manager will help you steer the conversation in a way that suits each individual. This prevents miscommunication, tension, and overwhelm that people can feel in certain situations.

 

👨‍👩‍👦 Generational Differences Play a Role

While we’ve discussed working with Millennial and Gen Z Homebuyers before, we haven’t exactly focused on how they’re different in the workplace setting. It’s important to understand the unique characteristics of each generation because it affects how and when you communicate with them, what they seek out in a career, and what will motivate them to do their best.

Donna pointed out that Gen Zers and Millennials like to communicate digitally and love the opportunity to be creative during in their projects. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are much more regimented in their work ethic and often prefer a face-to-face conversation or phone call to talk things through.

With retention a greater risk than ever before and the title industry experiencing a major market shift, industry leadership must step up to the plate in order to protect their greatest assets from walking out the door. Employees are looking for even more from their leaders and transforming your title business from a place where employees need to work to a place employees want to work for. Be the manager no one wants to leave.

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Justin Nedell Content Marketer

Justin Nedell is a Content Marketer at PropLogix who enjoys writing blogs and other digital content as well as facilitating webinars for the company. He currently lives in Denver, has traveled to over 30 countries, and enjoys hiking, trail running, snowboarding, yoga, learning French, and spending time in the mountains.