When talent jumps the fence to greener pasture, it isn’t always the actual job responsibilities or even the culture among their co-workers that was the deciding factor. Many times, it’s the lack of strong true leadership at the helm. So how can you retain talent by building your leader skills? Adopt these nine principles of great leadership.
Build your professional confidence: Your staff is looking for someone who is confident in their decisions. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take the time to consider your options before making a decision. It does mean no wishy-washy second guessing, lack of self-assurance in your decisions.
Throw away the arrogance: Yes, you lead the pack, but the best leader is the servant leader who recognizes and values the talent and personal styles of his/her team. Rather than think you are the only one who can “do it,” share responsibilities with your team and grant the necessary authority for the appropriate action.
Be a man or woman of your word: Follow through on your commitments. Don’t over-promise and under deliver. Ensure that your actions support your words. In other words, be trustworthy.
Communicate your vision and inspire cooperation: Be very clear and transparent about the company mission and the current project vision. Ensure that your team understands not only what you are trying to accomplish, but how it fits in the big picture. Provide a clearly lit path for the journey.
Encourage initiative and innovation: You’ve shared your vision and provided a well-defined map, but use it as a help, not a hindrance. Grant your team the freedom to cut a detour. Encourage reasonable, and sometimes bold, risk-taking. Initiative and innovation don’t always result in immediate success, but it creates a culture where “new and better” happens.
Give your team a voice: Yes, the buck stops with you, but a wise leader listens to their team and invites their ideas. Incorporate think tank time into your week. Provide a place for difficult conversation too. Your team not only needs your feedback, but they also need to be able to give feedback – both positive and negative
Hold yourself and your team accountable: Incorporate a balances and checks system. It’s important to hold your team accountable for your actions. It’s also essential to hold yourself accountable. This requires glass walls. If you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t fix problems before they become catastrophes.
Support your team: This covers multiple angles. 1) Don’t talk about them behind their back – if you have an issue, be up front and honest, with them. 2.) Have their back – if a project fails and other company divisions are casting blame, defend your team. This doesn’t mean a failure to acknowledge mistakes, but a commitment to stand behind their character, intention, effort, etc. 3) Go to bat for your team when they seek well- deserved opportunities for continued learning, raises, or promotions.
Acknowledge your team’s value: Don’t assume that your team knows their value. Give them the respect of regular feedback. Help them utilize their personal strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Get to know their personalities, work styles, values, etc. Show appreciation for their input – in verbal ways and tangible ways.
The fact is, all nine principles rest on a common core: The Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remembering that core will help you implement strong leadership that follows these principles, creating a healthy, supportive culture for your staff; the kind of leadership that attracts and retains talent.
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