Retention Through Strong Leadership

Post-Covid, we’ve all experienced a commercial talent drain. With so many options provided by the new remote-workforce culture, people are now unwilling to remain in a position where they are not shaped and groomed.  I don’t blame them.

Our job as leaders is to create a culture of curiosity, skill-building, and empowerment. However, at least once a  week I hear this lament from clients:

“I’ll just finish this work myself; my direct reports can’t do it right.”

And each time I hear it, I blame the leader. Our job, responsibility, calling, is to contribute to people not to marginalize them. But too often, fiscal pressure to hit goals takes a back seat to growing an inspired, eager, motivated workforce that aligns with those goals. Therefore, taking over a project or task yourself is penny-wise but dollar foolish. Not only have you not shown your directs the method you prefer for accomplishing goals but, you have diminished their sense of responsibility by signaling you don’t trust their abilities. Stop doing that!

People Are Inspired by the Inspiring

It is important for leaders to lose the concern over status and transform it to our teams. A large part of your job as a team leader is to make work enjoyable and affirmational after this awful two-year Covid hibernation that stifled people, their talent, and their inspiration to contribute to the world.

That inspiration to contribute must be lit by you. You must foster this environment. You accomplish this by linking each team member’s work to the attainment of their professional development goals.

To do that, it will require a frank conversation where you both acknowledge road blacks, determine how best to overcome them, and then offer constructive feedback for future growth.

Ask Yourself…

To help you determine your role in retaining talent, here are some questions I encourage my clients to ask themselves:

  • Am I inspiring my team?
  • Have I shared MY vision?
  • What have I commercially declared that has moved me and my team?
  • What can my team count on me for?
  • Have I manifested it?
  • As I look back each week, did I actively contribute to each team member accomplishing their goals?

So many times I hear leaders blame losing employees to some force outside of their control:

“They were never going to make it here.”
“This work wasn’t right for them.”
“They never had the drive to succeed.”
“Nothing I could do…they wanted to move to [fill in the city or company here].”

That line of thinking is disempowering for YOU. Consider that they left due to a lack of inspiration and motivation. And then, hard as it might be to accept, realize you could have provided that inspiration and motivation. Once you take that on, you can see how your actions, attitude, and leadership are what is really needed to retain your teams.

So, how did you do answering the questions above? Let me know. -SG

Video: Working on Employee Retention Skills