We all hate losing good employees but what if the reason was ourselves as a manager – or leader. It doesn’t matter whether you are the direct manager or a few more rungs up the corporate ladder, according to a survey in 2019 by Career Addict 79% of people left because of bad leadership. Eek! Yes, that’s right – you could be the reason someone chose to leave.
So, as a leader or manager who does not want to see your employees head out the door, when was the last time you did some self-reflection? Where do you sit in terms of being a great leader who is going to inspire others to not only work hard but LOVE their work and be passionate about striving for success?
Leadership Qualities are varied and no two leaders are the same however great leaders and managers are continually learning and developing. Even the strongest leader has their own obstacles that will impact them personally. So what areas can you focus on so your employees don’t leave because of you?
Selecting a strong team and being passionate about developing others
Recruitment and Selection is only one part of the journey and often, we need leaders and managers to work and develop people who they may not have selected themselves but inherited from a prior manager or perhaps a business decision led a person to move into the team. According to Joe Folkman, Behavioural Statistician, one of the best ways to increase employee engagement and retention is to ensure they have appropriate developmental opportunities which includes getting regular feedback on their performance from their manager. Passion to help not only your team succeed but each person within the team drives engagement, creates trust and allows them to develop their skills and increase their capability to perform new roles, even if this means leaving your team. Being supportive of this growth and development encourages success.
“Leadership is service to others.” – Denise M. Morrison , CEO of Campbell Soup Co.
Self-awareness and understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses
Effective leaders like to develop their emotional intelligence. This means understanding themselves through getting feedback on their qualities, strengths and weaknesses. A great leader loves to learn and is open to change their approach as more information comes to hand. You can improve this area by taking responsibility for your own learning, goal setting and accomplishments. Look for ways you can get feedback on areas that might need improvement from those around you including your team and your superiors. Having a report and assessment like the Judgment Index Leadership Qualities report to clearly outline key qualities that are important to have as a leader will help you to start the process to strengthen your leadership qualities and having conversation with your manager or team.
Being able to see the ‘Big Picture’ and be the strategy superstar
Big Picture thinking allows you to be proactive in your approach, rather than reactive. Setting aside time to be strategic as a leader will end up saving you lots of time in the long run. Leaders should be able to consider a variety of factors in their strategic discussions including internal and external organisational pressures, staffing, financial targets and opportunities for the future. Being able to look at all of these factors when setting goals and strategies for your team will mean they are likely to develop these big picture thinking skills themselves but also trust your decision making as a leader. You can improve this area by setting aside time for strategy and goal setting. Get your team involved in brainstorming and work together to set SMART goals. It is important that you don’t try and gather the information yourself but have trusted sources, reports or communication channels to rely on.
“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” – W.Edwards Deming
Being able to communicate effectively across different business areas and stakeholders
Communication is at the core of effective leadership if you want to inspire and influence those around you. According to The Economist, poor communication can result in unhappy teams, lost sales, poor outcomes and added stress! Being able to effectively communicate your strategy, new ideas, the needs of your teams to management and to be able to do this respectfully, assertively, optimistically and kindly means others will listen and ultimately enables your team to succeed. Teams who have a leader who clearly communicates the expectations and goals know what they are working towards and are happier for it. You can develop your communication skills through practice – see positive communication as a skill that needs regular attention so that it can be refined. If you have a difficult communication experience occur, take a look at what happened and where this could have been improved. Did you need to listen more?
“Seek first to understand before being understood” – J Richard Clarke
So where do you fit? Do you understand your strengths as a leader? What about your areas for development?
A successful leader in an organization will have strong results in the following areas:
- Passion to Lead
- Ability to Inspire
- Ability to Select Quality People
- Ability to Provide and Receive Direction
- Managing Relationships
- General Competence and Decisiveness
- Ability to Plan and Execute