Recently, I was having a conversation with a colleague and we were reflecting back on our first leadership opportunities. The first time we were really in charge of others, a team or a group of coworkers. During this conversation it became clear to us that one of the most important things that successful leaders can do to retain their best employees…was create a sense of loyalty. Here are some of the ideas we discussed:
Believe and trust – to believe and trust that your employees will perform to the best of their duties leads to loyalty. These people have been hired for a reason and should be trusted to do so until a situation arises in which they cannot be trusted. In a book titled The Speed of Trust, Stephen M. R. Covey tells us that a team with high trust will produce better results faster and at a much lower cost.
Respect – respect the people you lead. Leaders who make a conscious decision to create a workplace in which people are treated with respect and dignity will see great results even when challenging employees to perform at the highest levels. Silos must be broken down, leaders must begin to listen and self serving leaders must be reassigned or let go. The bottom line – workers need to be valued.
Respond – Great leaders respond to the needs of their people. Taking a genuine interest in the jobs and career aspirations of the individuals on their teams will create loyalty. Look to the future to help create learning and development opportunities for team members. Leaders must find out what motivates their best people by getting to know them and what drives them to do a job well. As a leader, do you know why each member of your team gets up in the morning to do the best work that they can do? If not, you might consider asking them.
Freedom – many years ago employees would stand on a production line and simply do what they were told to do, taking orders from high-above. That doesn’t work today. Today’s employees want the freedom to collaborate, organize and innovate within an organization. Everyone should have the choice and responsibility to exercise leadership from their position…regardless of title.