Friday, 17 February 2017

Why Leaders Lose Great People

Last year at this time, I posted an article on love and leadership and I make no apology for returning to this topic again in the Valentine’s month of February. This year I have spent a great deal of time talking with leaders about engagement and the questions that have continually arisen in our discussions include:
  • How do we engage our people? 
  • How do we win hearts and minds? 
  • Why isn't paying them a lot of money enough to make them happy and consistently productive? 
  • Alternatively, if we work in a very low paid industry, can we blame ourselves as leaders if our people choose to leave and go elsewhere to earn more?
  • How can I reduce the constant stream of attrition? 
  • Should I just accept that I work in a ‘nomadic’ industry?
  • And so the questions go on…
Here’s the thing. The challenge facing all leaders is how to attract, recruit, and retain great people. No matter how gloomy the wider global economy might be; finding and keeping talent is still one of our biggest challenges to commercial growth and success. Of course we have to focus on results. We drive a number, we improve a process, we fix a problem. But we don’t spend enough time focusing on our people and specifically, we don’t spend enough meaningful time with them. Without people we don’t have a business, and I don’t mean that we should all be wandering around our offices in a vague, listless way. I mean we need to engage in purposeful, productive and personalised conversations with them as individuals, talking about their potential, their purpose in being here and of course, their performance.

In conversation with managers in a manufacturing business, what became apparent was the notion that 1:1s 'are more of a tick box exercise’. Well, there’s the first problem. If we think it’s a tick box exercise, so will our people. What’s the purpose of a 1:1? Quite simply I think it’s to inspire. I think it’s to excite, motivate, coach, direct, delegate, reflect and listen to our people. If we do that well, the results follow. If we only focus on the numbers….we lose. And we lose great people. When was the last time you were inspired by a ‘tick box’ exercise?

Great leaders convey ‘Executive Presence’. I describe it as an ability to ‘reach’ their people. Executive Presence is about being able to connect, engage, enthuse, direct, delegate, delight, appreciate, listen to and inspire others. Effective leaders do so authentically, consistently and continually. In life (as well as in business), how we spend our money and how we spend our time tells the world all we care about. That’s it. There’s nothing else. Leaders lose great people because they don’t spend enough time in meaningful conversations with them, and what they convey as a result is the notion that they don’t care.

No comments:

Post a Comment