As a coach and leadership consultant, I spend a lot of time reviewing outgoing job interviews and employee engagement surveys to determine the reasons for the turnover of employees in my clients’ companies.
My experience shows that in these situations the first thing that every director or HR specialist should pay attention to are the managers.
Jim Clifton, CEO of the American sociological company Gallup, summarizes the results of a survey on the state of the American workplace in 2013 in one simple sentence:
“The single biggest decision you will make in your job is choosing a manager in your company. When you appoint the wrong person, nothing can correct this bad decision. “Neither compensation nor compensation – nothing,” he said.
Gallup came to this conclusion based on data from decades ago and interviews with more than 25 million employees. However, today, in a pandemic, organizations continue to make the same mistakes. We all already know that “people leave managers, not companies”, but things never change.
After all, the best way to stop the outflow of talent from your company is to start hiring and giving promotions to people who have real leadership qualities and skills. Too often, the people on whom this selection depends on reward behavior that is mistaken for a sign of leadership capacity – a demonstration of confidence, charisma, extroversion, and more. Moreover, they pay too much attention to the candidate’s past performance and overestimate the importance of the CV, solid skills, and technical experience.
The reality is that the most narcissistic bosses who have psychopathic tendencies also possess these qualities. However, this does not make them good leaders, by any means. People responsible for finding and elevating current and future leaders need to look to them for traits and qualities that research unequivocally sets as an example as a prerequisite for creating a better work environment in which everyone is more productive and satisfied with their work. you are.
In a remarkable study, empathy was identified as the most important quality that leaders need. If we have to be more specific, this is about people’s ability to listen to others and put themselves in their shoes. An empathetic leader naturally builds strong relationships with his employees and encourages productive cooperation. He constantly thinks about the conditions under which his team works, understands the challenges and difficulties faced by his employees, and perceives their emotions as real as his own.
The next time you face a challenge, present the “we have a problem” scenario as an opportunity to find important solutions and innovative approaches, encouraging open dialogue within your team. To do this, you need to build a company culture that makes all employees feel safe and not afraid to express their views and ideas, whether or not they contradict yours. When you involve your employees in the decision-making process, you allow them to feel part of something bigger, you allow them to see the direct results of their work and take responsibility for them, whether good or bad.
When it comes to leadership qualities that are key to the success of corporate cultures based on trust and transparency, there is one trait that surpasses even confidence and charisma – vulnerability. More than 42 million people watched Bren Brown’s historic TED Talk presentation: The Power of Vulnerability. Once it gained widespread popularity, vulnerability established itself as a critical “soft skill” that every leader needs to build. One way to develop this quality is by sharing stories.
In their book, Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others, leadership experts James Cousses and Barry Posner emphasize the importance of leaders being able to tell stories to build trust between them and their employees.
The two authors quote the respected psychologist Professor of Cognitive Knowledge at Harvard Howard Gardner:
“The skillful creation and transmission of stories is a key part of the leader’s vocation. The stories speak to both parts of the human mind – the mind and the emotion. I argue that identity stories, those stories that help people think and feel about who they really are, where they come from, and where they’re headed, are the most powerful weapon in a leader’s literary arsenal.
Telling a story about a big mistake or failure from the past, for example, is a good way to start a conversation in which people can safely show vulnerability.