By Paul Moya, Sanborn & Associates, Inc.
We all have one in our lives—those beloved leaders that just seem to draw people toward them. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, many people are drawn to these leaders not because of how they feel about the leader, but because of how the leader makes them feel about themselves.
One of the most practical ways that you can immediately embody these qualities is to understand two simple facts: everyone matters and everyone wants to feel significant. While there are countless ways to communicate this message, here are 3 that will provide the highest return for all parties involved.
#1. Help People Grow
I find it is a common myth—especially regarding Gen Yers—that people leave companies because they lack a “fancy” title or fail to get a big promotion. Yet, the truth is that most often people leave companies when they stop growing or they stop feeling appreciated.
Your first opportunity is to create a culture of learning and growth—whether it includes “No-Blame Reporting” of accidents on a factory floor or brown bag lunches amongst managers to share best practices—in order to maximize the talent of people on your team. By building the scaffolding necessary to maximize potential, you will retain top talent and the entire organization will thrive.
#2. Connect the Dots
While you understand how each employee’s daily tasks contribute to the big picture and overall objectives of the company, many of your employees do not. It is your responsibility as a leader to bridge the knowledge gap and ensure that those you lead see the connection between their work and the success of the organization. While making this connection isn’t difficult, it will require some serious attention and effort on your part.
#3. Give Sincere Appreciation
People who don’t feel appreciated are often the first to burn out or jump ship within any organization. As a leader you are aware of the impact that your teammates make, but knowing is not enough; you must actively find ways to show others that you value their contribution to the company.
Find the intern who goes “Above & Beyond the Call of Duty” (ABCD as Mark Sanborn defines it in “The Fred Factor”), identify the front-line worker who pushes everyone around her or reach out to a manger who continuously brings in new customers while simultaneously strengthening relationships with existing customers. All of these things are likely happening every day within your organization—make sure to slow down enough to see them.
A great leader not only adopts these three key points, they are also masters at communicating to the different segments of troops (interns, front-line workers, managers) in a way that connects and unites them. Case study: Reagan post Challenger disaster.