“Now that there are more jobs available, I’ve started to look out for new career options.”
“This year will probably be the time for me to move jobs. I’m looking for more responsibility… to make a greater contribution.”
We’re hearing these sorts of comments more frequently now aren’t we, either over a coffee with a friend or as the weekend barbeque is cooking.
As the economy strengthens and both the advertised and hidden job markets heat up, critical aspects of leadership behaviour that damage productivity are again being revealed.
Let’s check to ensure you’re putting yourself in a strong position to retain your valuable team members who are making such a significant contribution to your KPIs…
Your Ideal Scenario
Ideally, every contributor in your team will be fully engaged and exhibiting a strong commitment to you, to his or her job and to the organization—now and in the foreseeable future—right?
Yep, high levels of discretionary effort and high employee tenure definitely support your endgame—maximised productivity and profit…
And yet, so often leaders have behavioural habits that prevent these high levels of team member engagement. So, what are some of these habits?
When I’m doing 360-degree feedback interviews, I normally start with questions like, “Where is s/he well on track? And where could s/he be even more on track?”
These two simple questions begin to reveal enormous amounts of valuable information for the leader I’m working with. The feedback is always a mix of that which is immensely complimentary and that which is not.
In recent months, some of the very appreciative comments that observers have made have been:
“I enjoy the way he gives me real accountability and responsibility. He delegates and then trusts me to do the job. He doesn’t even start to tell me how to suck eggs.”
“She has such a good consultative style. She’s genuinely open to suggestions and my observations.”
“He behaves like a leader, not a boss. Mentally, he sits at the higher-level perspective. As a result I feel valued and respected for my contribution.”
Contrary to those perceptions, some of the most damming of the uncomplimentary comments have been:
“I want a boss who actually wants my ideas, who thinks I’ve got something to add, and that’s not so at present. He doesn’t seem to get that those who do the job usually have some good ideas to offer.”
“She behaves like she hasn’t already got a plan in mind, and it almost always turns out that she has. She just goes through the motions of listening to me and my peers.”
“I’d like it if he wasn’t so directive. It’d be understandable behaviour if the building was on fire, and it isn’t. He thinks he’s doing what he needs to do to get a good job done. I’m sure he doesn’t know how demotivating his behaviour is.
What Does The Research Say About The Potential Consequences Of These Uncomplimentary Perceptions?
You’ve no doubt heard the saying:
People join an organisation—and they leave a boss
Well, research backs that saying up! Employee retention, along with discretionary effort, is highly dependent on the boss’s behaviour. So the question is this…
As a leader, how do you need to behave so that your team members are positively stimulated to work with you—and are consequently fully engaged and exhibiting a strong commitment to you, to their job and to the organization—now and in the foreseeable future?
Four Behaviours That Will Help You Retain Your Team Members and Increase Their Discretionary Effort
My 360-degree observer interviews tell me that the most vital leadership behaviours are less than a handful in number:
At all times, your team members must feel genuinely respected and valued by you.
You need to (a) listen to your team members—and (b) they need to feel heard.
(A trap is to assume that “b” always follows “a”! More on this in a later bulletin.)
Consultation works, being directive doesn’t (unless there’s a “fire in the building” or something similar).
Do your job, not theirs.
My (educated) view is that if, 99% of the time, you’re following these four “rules” your team members will be positively stimulated to work with you.
Your Leadership Call to Action
That, of course, begs the question: Can you honestly say you’re applying these four rules 99% of the time? Check it out…
Mentally stand back and observe the way you interact with your team members, and
Ask your team members how well they think you’re applying these four “rules”.
(Let me know if you want to be certain that you’ll get candid responses from your team members. How the questions are asked as well as who does the asking does make a huge difference.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.