Kati Reaugh, Human Resources Business Partner at Netflix, shared in the latest episode of our podcast that she believes, “Managers are really the key to having a successful company.” That’s a big statement from someone who consults weekly with the VPs of her corporation! 

Managers have a direct impact on an employee’s experience. Possibly more than any other part of the team, a manager defines the day to day workplace culture in a company. Kati goes on to share that, “Employees need to feel that they’re cared for and that they are valued. It’s a huge factor for retention. It’s really hard to leave a good manager, even at a bad company. Those managers are vitally important.”


What makes an effective manager?


Kati cites the well-known text by the Gallup Consulting Company, First Break All The Rules. The findings of their study can be summarized into four conventions that effective managers should question and 12 questions that their employees should be able to positively answer.

Conventional wisdom often keeps things afloat but rarely ushers in greatness. Let’s take a look at the four conventions managers can challenge to help their employees reach their full performance potential. 

  1. Select employees based on talent rather than experience or intelligence. Talent cannot be taught. Talent can’t be added later, it’s either there or it’s not. Talent is crucial for success and if it is there, it can be nurtured to grow.

  2. Define the desired outcome, not the specific steps to achieve it. This gives employees room to use their talents to the fullest and accomplish goals in the way that is most effective for them.

  3. Focus on strength, not on weakness. It is easier to develop strength than it is to transform weakness. Often workers will be happier and more productive doing something they have a talent for.

  4. Find the right fit for your employee’s talents. Promotion should not be the only award for high performance. Promoting every high performer eventually builds an organization where everyone is promoted to their level of incompetence. 


The goal is always to attract and retain top performers. With those four principles in mind, let’s take a look at the 12 questions that Gallup believes are the ultimate measuring stick for employee satisfaction. If employees can answer each of the following questions positively, they are part of a strong workplace, a workplace that their manager has shaped to be where they work best and want to stay.


  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? 
  2. Do I have the equipment and material I need to do my work right? 
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? 
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work? 
  5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person? 
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? 
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count? 
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel that my work is important? 
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? 
  10. Do I have a best friend at work? 
  11. In the last six months, have I talked to someone about my progress? 
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?


Kati says, “If you have an amazing company but a really horrible manager, you’re going to quit.” Empowering your managers to foster an environment that promotes growth and connection for your employees might just be the best business investment you could make. 

If you’d like to get in touch with Kati and chat more about building strong managers in your team, you can email her at kreaugh@gmail.com, check out her website, or catch the whole conversation with Kati on HR Insiders on Soundcloud or Apple Podcasts.