The top reason people leave their jobs

Gorgeous young female smiling confidently
iStockphoto

(MoneyWatch) In case you missed it, Boss's Day was Oct. 16. Generally, I advocate skipping it. Presents should only go one direction-- from boss to employee, not the other way around. Why? Because of the imbalance of power between boss and employee. (A card from employee to boss is fine, but a boss should never expect a present.)

But, a good boss is worth his weight in gold, right? That's what a new survey by HR services firm Randstad found. More than eight of 10 of employees believe that their relationship with their direct supervisor has a big impact on how happy they are with their job.

That goes along with surveys that show that the No. 1 reason people leave their jobs is because of their manager. When someone who needs independence is paired with a manager that hovers, or someone who needs step by step direction is paired with a manager who steps back, the situation doesn't work.

Employees also put a tremendous amount of faith in their managers: 67 percent of employees feel their manager or direct supervisor has their best interests in mind when it comes to recognizing their abilities and helping their careers.

That is a lot of responsibility to be placed on a manager's head. The reality is that your manager will never care as much about your career as you do. Trusting that your manager is considering your needs above the needs of the department or the company can result in a stagnant job where you're not advancing. After all, your growth should eventually lead you to another job rather than staying right where your manage needs you.

Despite that high level of trust in managers, 53 percent of employees believe they could do a better job than their manager or supervisor, according to Randstad. Some of that is rooted in the fact that not every employee understands their boss's responsibilities and obligations.

If you're a manager, how should you interpret the results of the survey?

Your employees are happiest when you have a good relationship with them. Happy employees tend to be productive employees, so working on building a good, solid relationship is well worth your time. That said, don't confuse a good manager-employee relationship with the kind of relationship that friends have. They are different.

Promote your employees' best interests. If you see talents in your employees, maximize them. It's better to develop someone up and out than it is to keep your stars sitting in their seats. They may stay in your department longer, but then they're likely to leave the company altogether out of frustration. If you work on internal development, you help not only your employees, but also your company by retaining talent. Better employees means better profits. Better profits mean a bigger bonus, so you can even do this and remain self interested.

Realize you're not perfect. Your current approach in relating to employees may not be the best way. Be open to the idea that change is possible. Be open to the idea that the people who do the nitty-gritty work every day may know their jobs better than you do. Everyone has room for growth and development.