Skill Level Advanced
- Every one of your employees is essentially a volunteer. They joined your company based on your stated purpose, the hope of autonomy, and the desire to develop mastery. If they leave your company, chances are it's because they were micromanaged or their manager didn't help them gain experiences and develop new skills through increased responsibility. In other words, no one is indentured, and the best indicator metric of leadership effectiveness is talent retention.
The war for talent is so tight, we can't afford to lose people these days. It's about challenging, not coddling, today's worker, but we have to remember, just like the Hippocratic Oath physicians take, first do no harm. Consider these indisputable facts about how we're doing as leaders. 25% of all employees feel ignored by their boss, resulting in 40% disengagement. We're social animals. Being ignored is being ostracized.
33% of all feedback produces a decline in actual work performance. When we receive feedback, our brain shifts into fear or flight mode. This takes us out of the mode to learn or create. Human relationships will always require an investment of time, but here are two base qualities you need to demonstrate when retaining the next generation of leaders at your company and change those dire metrics for your own company.
Be there and be clear. Being there means being present, engaged, and available. Being clear means articulating expectations and providing commensurate feedback. Being present, engaged, and available is about slowing down to make better decisions about where you spend your time. A rapid pace is the new normal, but accelerating your growth is proportional to spending time developing people.
As leaders, we need to be much more curious about managing the energy of those we work with. If we're curious, we'll ask great questions, demonstrating we care. When we care, we'll listen. When we listen, we'll understand. When we understand, we'll create a more engaged, motivated, and dedicated workforce. I can't tell you how many employees I meet who really don't know what's expected of them. They don't know the performance standard, and worse, they don't get feedback when they're succeeding nor when they're failing.
When you're available, you're there to provide clarity by articulating expectations. You're also there to catch people doing things right, which is about reinforcing standards and behaviors. You're also there to provide feedback when standards aren't being met, so behavior and performance can be corrected and improved, or you can restate and reframe expectations in a way it's better understood. Our duty as leaders is to grow the next generation of leaders, to pass on what we've learned to the next generation.
Retention is a competitive advantage, and effective leaders know that retaining employees requires clear feedback and devoted time.