We Always Get, What We’ve Always Got
by Jim Joseph Brown
When I was a much younger man in one of my very first leadership positions, I received some terrific advice from a wise and trusted mentor.
He told me that if you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
Once I had a chance to digest that a bit, I realized I had fallen into an age-old trap. The trap of believing that if I just worked harder on my particular problem, I would somehow get better results. My friend and mentor had a greater perspective. He realized I was already working plenty hard, it was my approach or strategy that wasn’t working.
Lets liken this example to problem of retaining and attracting the kinds of employees you absolutely must have in your business to compete these days. You know who they are.
They are those engaged employees that pour everything they are into their work and still think about ways to improve even at home or on vacation. They are the walking advertisements that say to other like-minded individuals “come work here, it’s a great place to be.”
We want as many of these employees as we can get, yet do we really understand what it is that attracts them to us and keeps them here long-term.
For years most businesses have felt they need to bribe their stars to come on board and stay put. Has this worked? Or have we created a mercenary culture in regards to employment, always looking for the bigger paycheck or the next greatest benefit.
Frank Skillern, the former CEO of American Express Centurion Bank once said. “In 40 years of leadership I have basically learned one thing, and it is the most important thing I know.
Companies really only perform when every team member knows that there is at least one person there who sincerely cares what happens to them in their career. That’s where it all begins and ends. That, in my view, is the simple truth that drives success.”
The question is, who is that one person in your organization? Well it’s never just one person, although the buck does stop at the highest office of leadership. Managers and supervisors have to become that one person for their employees.
When you get right down to it, the key to retention and attraction is this: When employees feel they are getting respectful and helpful interactions with their managers, they tend to stay. When they personally feel that they are not getting these crucial interactions with their managers they will leave.
People leave people, not salaries, or benefit plans or mission statements.
So if you are at all concerned about the overall welfare of your company, you should really need be concerned about the overall competency and skill level of your entire management team.
Because high performance is never a one-way street. It happens when the raw potential and talent of employees collides with the guidance, coaching and leadership supplied by management.
With this realization in mind, there are three questions about your management team that become critical for you to ask:
- How many of your managers have excellent leadership skill and competency, particularly in the areas of communication, coaching and employee development?
- What programs have you implemented to help managers improve on their strengths in these areas or help them work on those areas of weakness that are holding them back?
- What assessments, survey tools, or systems have you, or can you put in place to help your organization predict that you are hiring or promoting managers who have excellent leadership, communication and coaching skills?
Many companies do not have a clue about the answers to these questions. They are the companies who will always get what they’ve always got.
They will keep promoting managers based on the fact that they were great doers, not great leaders. And they will continue to lose a disproportionate amount of great employees because they refuse to change.
Those companies that focus on developing managers with excellent leadership, coaching and communication skills will become even more successful as even greater numbers of younger generations enter the workforce.
They will be more productive. They will attract and keep more of the top talent available and they will see their profits and revenues grow as well. They will get new results that exceed even their best expectations.
Jim Brown invites you to learn more about Performance Improvement Tools for Managers and Employees at http://www.empowergroup.ca. Browse through free whitepapers, case studies and other resources to help you select, coach, and train better employees and managers. Check out great ways to supplement your training and development programs with On-site programs from http://www.trainingthatworks.net
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