In Gotara’s most recent REACH Report, we found that the top reason STEM + women plan to leave their jobs is because of an unsupportive manager. This is in sync with a recent HBR article authored by Erica Keswin, where she states:  

“Managers are really having a moment. More and more employees are turning to their direct supervisors for direction and support. Unfortunately, managers aren’t always prepared to meet their moment because they’re woefully under-trained and overworked while tasked with leading their teams during heightened turbulence.” 

The manager role is tough. We are often promoted due to our technical expertise but then not trained on what it takes to be a good supportive manager. I know! I was thrown into a manager role very early in my career but had absolutely no training—it was not pretty. 

Whether or not we, as managers, mean to come across as unsupportive is beside the point because this is how our employees are perceiving our behavior. But we can do something about it: improve our soft skills! 

Thankfully, Gotara has developed a way to upskill managers we call career sprints that focus on real-time application and results.  

What can we do to be better prepared? 

  1. Learn soft skills! 

Enrolling in programs like Gotara’s Voyager Program is an opportunity to learn or improve upon soft skills that are necessary when managing a team, like creating an inclusive environment or coaching team members. When it comes to being supportive, what matters is our actions, not our intentions. If our team does not feel supported by us, we learn soft skills we should apply to change that perception. Then, we use those skills to keep the STEM + women still working at the organization, attract new hires, and invest in their careers.

2. Look forward, not backward  

It can be hard not to feel attacked when we learn our team isn’t happy with the way we’re interacting with them. But to be successful in these turbulent times, we need to take it upon ourselves to put in the effort to improve our skills.  

Luckily, there are companies and leaders within companies who already place a high value on developing leadership skills. This is great news for those of us who see the benefit of putting time and energy into perfecting these skills. As managers, we need to put time and effort into investing in ourselves. However, we cannot do that without support from our C-Suite executives.  

Keep an eye out for Calling All Managers Part II for a discussion on what managers need from company leaders. 

In the meantime, let me know what you think managers need to be more supportive of STEM + women.