PPB October 2019

T he U.S. is enjoying the strongest economy and the lowest unemployment in decades, but the downside means that the pickings are slim for companies looking to fill open positions. With a smaller candidate pool and the direct and indirect cost of replacing workers running $3,500 and up, it makes more sense than ever for companies to work hard to hold onto their good employees—and that starts with looking at why employees leave. A survey conducted in late 2018 by TinyPulse of 25,000 employees worldwide and published by Inc. magazine reported the No. 1 reason that employees leave jobs: poor management performance. The research found that “40 percent of employees who don’t rate their supervisor’s performance highly have interviewed for a new job in the past three months, compared to just 10 percent of those who do rate their supervisor highly.” Companies experiencing a lot of employee churn may want to look at those who manage others and work to improve their skills. Managing others is not a talent people are born with, but it can be learned. Take a few tips from these 23 who were selected from over 100 nominees submitted by their direct reports from industry companies of all sizes in PPB’ s annual search for the best bosses in the promotional products industry. Larry Alford Vice President, Sales Axis Promotions New York, New York Years managing others: 25 Why he was nominated: “I have been working on Larry’s team for four years now and have grown tremendously in regard tomy work (I came fromprint advertising and was not familiar with the promotional marketing industry),” says nominator Karen Tihalas, pictured here with Alford. “Fromday one, Larry continuously mentoredme and challengedme with learning opportunities. Not only has he taught me so much by hands-on coaching, he has faith inme to learn onmy own which has allowedme to growwith confidence.” Larry’s insights on his best boss: Among my best bosses, three come tomind. At my first real job out of college I learned to trust my instincts and convictions. I was 22 andmarketing director for a tiny company with little guidance. That boss was also a horrible mentor and not particularly available but that bad habit taught me a lot—especially how to treat others. My current boss (Larry Cohen would not like me calling him that) has helped to strengthenmy belief in instincts and expectations. However, the greatest thing I have learned fromhim is that 100-percent perfect does not exist, so we all need to adjust our expectations. This holds true for all the many relations within our industry. The third of my best bosses are my parents. After all, household chores were my first “job.” I learned how to prioritize at a young age and the value of hard work. His advice for managing others: Respect. You get what you give. Regardless of being a boss, you also need your team for success and partnership. You are not always right and often more wrong than youmay know. Be willing to listen. Communicate clearly, understand where others are coming from and be willing to accept your mistakes. Allow others tomake mistakes. When I hire, I look for a few very important characteristics in no particular order: passion, humility, resourcefulness, accountability and a sense of humor. I amnot a fan of the word “boss;” I prefer team lead—this is a much better description of my management style. We are a team, yes, I am the team lead, however, from the very definition of us being a team, we work together—no one works for me. We all have a common goal. Best Bosses Of 2019 | FEATURE | OCTOBER 2019 | 23