Within many industries, the success of a business relies more on the people you pay rather than the people who pay you. As I’ve said many times before, people are your most important asset. In some industries, people are your ONLY asset.
Many companies have covered the topic of employee retention. Creating quantifiable career paths, providing consistent reviews and feedback, and crafting an environment of ongoing learning and growth are all huge pillars to retaining the superstars inside your company.
Once the foundation is poured and the framework is in, any builder knows that the devil is in the details. The finish-out of any building makes the difference between a standard home and a great home. The same is with your company. Today, we’ll answer how you can build on your solid foundation to craft a dream home of a company for your employees.
Words matter. Consider the difference between, “You have a face that makes time stand still” and “you have a face that could stop a clock.” Words have the power to strengthen or fracture bonds. Be acutely aware of the power of your vocabulary and the way that you say something. It could be a world of a difference for you.
“Employee” has a different connotation than “Team member”.
Instead of saying “As your boss, it’s my job to make sure that you…” say, “I know you are trusting me to make sure you succeed on this project so can I offer an alternative perspective?”
When creating a culture of inclusion, avoid statements like “You should have” and change them to future-tense like “I know this was a frustrating outcome. With similar projects in the future, perhaps we could try…”
This doesn’t mean one cannot be direct, deliver a tough message, or even operate with authority. It simply means that a strong leader knows that words have power and they are aware of the responsibility that exists to use them responsibly.
If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you say you are going to be somewhere, be there. If you initiate a new business process or initiative, follow through. Be consistent about being consistent.
Consistency is important because every team needs a rock. Without consistency, it is impossible for you to be that rock. Ineffective leadership happens when an individual is moody and passive aggressive.
You do not have to be eternally optimistic but it means that as a leader you should be the stable anchor of the team or organization. When someone interrupts your day, avoid being blunt by saying something like, Instead of giving abrupt, one-word answers when someone interrupts your day, consider instead: “What you have to say is important to me, but I cannot be pulled away from this project right now. Why don’t we set up a time to meet tomorrow at 3 pm?”
Remember that not only is this important to building healthy professional relationships within a team, but you are also modeling the behaviors that you want future managers to develop themselves for when they start to lead others. For example, focused and unavailable is acceptable, while rude or moody is not.
Transparency is Key
A transparent culture is one where employees are given meaningful insights that build trust with leadership. It’s where people can give honest and direct feedback, knowing it will be heard and shared with the right people. Egos are removed, and the leaders take full responsibility for the success and the failures of the organization. There are very few ways to build trust and one is by having a transparent culture within your company. As long as there is a professional reason why an individual would like information to be shared, is there any reason why that information shouldn’t be?
Quarterly or semi-annual “town hall” meetings are a great place to put this idea into practice. All employees are allowed to ask any question that is professionally relevant unless it is personal in nature. If that’s the case, they are asked to go to the individual directly to sort things out. For some, this may be daunting, but it allows the leader to be in control of the message instead of speculation swirling throughout the company. The irony is that the more you allow people the freedom to ask questions, the less they feel the need to ask them.
Don’t Forget to Laugh!
You must have a sense of humor both when things are going well and when things go wrong. A study by Bell Leadership Institute found that leaders’ two most desirable traits were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor. Humor gets people to listen, increases persuasion, and increases engagement, likability, and employee engagement.
Be someone others want to be around! These leadership lessons may seem small, but can profoundly impact building lifelong professional relationships.
With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.
– Michael Monson
President and CEO
Top Talent LLC