10 Ways to Prevent Talent from Walking Out the Door

Many of us have those very talented friends and colleagues that are always being pursued by other organizations  – Some leave; some don’t.  Companies are often taken by surprise when the announcement comes that someone they idolized leaves for another opportunity.

In asking those that leave, many of these have rung true….“As you reflect upon the past few years, what missed opportunities did they have to retain you?”  

  1. Believe a paycheck is a retention tool. A paycheck, alone, won’t make someone stay.
  2. Act like retention is only HR’s job.  People don’t quit their company, they quit their managers and colleagues.  Retention is everyone’s job.
  3. Think you know what’s best for your employee’s career.  Employees, too, should have a say in how their career develops.
  4. Ignore the importance of culture.  If organizational values only exist on a fancy wall poster, culture isn’t being minded.
  5. Not offer professional development.  Learning doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.  It just needs to happen.
  6. Fail to develop career paths. Career growth doesn’t mean climbing the corporate ladder.  It means helping people feel like they’re progressing in their profession.
  7. Don’t tell people they matter. Employees need to feel like they count.  Small things add up.
  8. Ignore the little things.  Every employer knows your birthday, start date, and other odds and ends about you.   If they don’t use this personal information to make you feel valued, they’re missing out on easy opportunities to engage you.
  9. Fail to keep pace with workforce trends.  If software is outdated, the dress code doesn’t make sense, and there’s not a lot of focus on the workplace experience, then your business needs to catch up with the rest of the world and develop modern workforce practices.
  10. Treat your top talent like everyone else.  If you’ve got superstars, they deserve superstar treatment.  (Not diva treatment, they just need special attention so they’re developed for future opportunities.)

We know that work is a relationship between an employer (and leader) and an employee.  For any relationship to work, both have to be committed and put their best foot forward.

List first seen in a blog post from Lead Star, September 2019

Attitude or IQ, which is more important to your success?

When it comes to success, we have often been taught the value of IQ through test-taking and traditional education focus.

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

Dweck focuses on two core attitudes: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Fixed mindset – you believe you are who you are and cannot change. Often leaving you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed when faced with a challenge that is more than you believe you can handle.

Growth mindset – you believe you can improve with effort.   With this attitude, most outperform because they embrace challenges and an opportunity to learn.

Many believe having an ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset embrace setbacks as learning opportunities.

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way,

“Failure is information—we label it a failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.'”

Thankfully, your mindset is something you can change and grow.  Below are strategies that will help you do just that:

  1. Move beyond helpless. After a failure or being stuck, we can feel helpless. The key is how we react to that feeling. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down and stay stuck.
  2. Be passionate.What you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion – driving your unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
  3. Take action.This helps eliminate fear and anxiety which can be paralyzing and the best way to overcome them is to take action.
  4. Expect results.  This keeps you motivated.  If you don’t think you will succeed, you may become discourages or not even try.
  5. Be flexible.Embrace adversity as a means for improvement, as opposed to something that sets you back.
  6. Don’t complain when things don’t go your way.This can become a habit!  A growth mindset looks for the opportunity.

What are some ways you encourage others (or yourself) to move from a fixed to a growth mindset?

 

An Individualized Approach to Developing Your Employees

“No matter how much success you’re having, you cannot continue working together if you can’t communicate” –James Cameron

Managers play a critical role in developing the people on their teams. Without strong leaders and a strategic management plan, people often become complacent or feel unfulfilled and “stuck” in their jobs. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. recently shared A Winning Approach to Employee Development, making it personalized to the individual by noting the following for each direct report:

  • Individualized assessments of the employee’s potential
  • Employee’s career and development goals
  • Identifying employee’s motivators. Such as do they appreciate acts of service (helping them)? Gifts (coffee cards, lunch certificates)? Quality time (regular meetings, going out to lunch together)? Words of affirmation? Etc.
  • Identifying the employee’s preferred work personality style (DiSC)

Curious about how to tailor your development approach to the employee’s preferred work styles using DiSC?  Here are some simple ways to get started:

  • For D-style employees, consider development opportunities that have the potential for impressive results, as success is typically their bottom line. Review the big picture with them and encourage them to come up with appropriate long-term goals.
  • When working with i-styles, allow them to lead small groups, as they thrive in a collaborative environment. Help them stay focused by pointing out the negative consequences of not taking enough time to develop skills with deliberate effort. 
  • For developing S-style team members, be mindful to push them gently to grow and develop—slow and steady tends to win with them. Show them that they have what it takes to work autonomously, and don’t be afraid to offer constructive feedback when necessary. 
  • With C-styles, try putting development opportunities into clear, well-organized framework. Make sure that these independent and logic-driven employees see the drawbacks of always playing it safe, and remind them to fill you in on their progress.

By communicating with our employees in the way they are wired/prefer, shows them we see and hear them – making them feel valued.  And that is a critical component to developing people.

Aha! Leadership is an authorized partner for Everything DiSC® and its tools and assessments.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or your employees, please email aha@ahaledership.com

Create Accountability—Reignite Your 1:1 Meetings

Great 1:1 meetings drive accountability by continuously keeping top priorities, top priorities.

 

If you feel that your one-on-ones aren’t especially useful, then it’s time to improve your process. I truly find that 1:1’s are the single most important meetings of my week. It helps me set expectations, communicate priorities, and listen to the struggles/challenges that each person on my team is having.  When done well, 1:1’s drive engagement and accountability.

 

Trap: Don’t get caught by the misconception that 1:1’s are just another meeting or that the “open door” policy is better.  I truly believe by focusing 30 min of time each week on each of your direct reports, you will free up hours of meetings by delegating decision making power, and eliminate last-minute fire drills by getting ahead of problems before they blow up while results by motive each person to stay focused on your team’s top priorities.  When done well you will also reduce email and phone calls because both of you have a predetermined weekly time to talk through or share key information.

 

How to create more effective 1:1 meetings

1-Recurring, scheduled meetings:  Weekly, bi-weekly depending on your role/business.

2-Brief – 30 minutes.  It may look like this:

15-20 min:  Progress on goals and priorities

  • Progress should be reviewed for each goal; share with your leader any issues or blockers they may need to help with to ensure that the target will be achieved.

5 min:  Share recent accomplishments – ask for feedback

  • Ask for feedback from your leader. Any good work or praiseworthy behavior should be recognized and encouraged. Be open to it. It is a gift!

5-10 min:  Development and open-ended Communication

  • Leave this open in the agenda – where does your leader need help? It may be an opportunity!!
  • What are you working to further your career development? Discuss ideas.

3-Location:  Consider having your one on one meeting outside or out of the office – the change of venue can contribute to a more relaxed session.

4-Timing:  Consider the timing for the recurring meeting.  4pm on Friday is not ideal for a focused conversation about your career development.

5-Commit to your 1 to 1 meeting – make it a priority: The first thing you need to do is make your one on one meeting a priority. It’s easy to skip meetings, so schedule a recurring calendar event each week to ensure the appropriate time is set aside.

6-Establish the 1:1 Meeting Agenda Format:  Setting a mutually agreeable agenda allows the both participants to show up prepared and with aligned expectations.

7-Prepare so you can look forward, not backward:  Thoughtful preparation. If you submit your template to your leader the day before your one on one meeting, each will arrive at the meeting knowing what will be discussed and allow you to spend the bulk of your time looking to the future, brainstorming, creating action items, and connecting personally.

8-Focus on you and your projects and development:  Avoid discussing other employees’ work during your time together, unless it’s specifically applicable to the conversation.

4 Ways to Help Employees’ Soft Skills Shine!

We may live in a digital world, but soft skills like communication, problem solving, collaboration, and empathy are becoming more valued than technology. It’s time to elevate soft skills to a topic worthy of frequent leadership inspection.

Here are four ways you can develop your team’s soft skills on the job with minimal financial investment:

  1. Set the stage. Help your team members understand that developing their people skills is part of their path to internal career mobility; and that only focusing on their technical abilities will hold them back in the long run.
  2. Put soft skills front and center. Celebrate wins that highlight people skills. Give equal praise for how something was done as well as what was achieved.
  3. See the opportunity in challenge. Setbacks are an opportunity to coach employees through the speedbumps of organizational life while building a portfolio of critical soft skills. Work with your employees to overcome these challenges and they will come out the other side stronger than before.
  4. Get clear about what good people skills look like. Consistent detailed feedback is core to leadership. When offering feedback highlight specific things your employees said or did that demonstrate their soft skills.

The modern workplace demands top-notch soft skills. Help your team members shine by developing their human skills in equal measure with their technical skills.

“The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff.”
– Roger Enrico

(Adapted from Smart Brief)

3 Tips to Create Lasting Motivation

If motivation were an exact science, leaders would have no problem keeping their teams motivated and moving forward. From experience we know that motivation is an art that requires a mindful approach. Especially when our goal is to motivate others to do something not because they were asked, but because they want to do it. Inspiring this kind of lasting motivation is an important skill for leaders to develop.

Here are three strategies for how you can motivate others in a way that lasts:

  1. Model motivation. Make sure you are motivated, because that sets the tone for your team. If you’re lacking passion, eventually your team is going to lack passion. If you lack motivation, your team is going to lack motivation. The team follows the tone the leader sets.
  2. Create a culture of appreciation. The single biggest reason a person leaves an organization is they don’t feel appreciated. If you want to motivate, appreciate. Appreciate more than you think you should, and then double the appreciation you show.
  3. Address performance issues directly. One of the most demotivating things we can do is consistently accept unacceptable performance. Ignoring destructive behaviors means the whole team suffers.

As a leader, your role is to set up your team for success. You have the power to create a motivating atmosphere that keeps your team motivated through almost any challenge.

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Giving Up Control to Create Leaders

In our last newsletter, Assumptions that can Harm Your Coaching Culture; we focused on developing a coaching culture that inspires discovery, reflection, and persistence. This kinds of cultural shifts can require big changes in the landscape of leadership.

This powerful video explores one leader’s high stakes decision to let go of control, and empowering his crew to make decisions.

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves” -David Marquet

Assumptions that can Harm Your Coaching Culture

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Coaching is more than a collection of effective techniques. The qualities associated with coaching are the ones that energize us and generate creativity and commitment. Coaching culture is about having the conversations that may not usually happen to make sure we understand and can act in ways that amplify collaboration, agreement, and alignment. 

The first step is understanding the myths and misconceptions surrounding coaching culture. These assumptions can prove major resource drains for organizations looking to implement a coaching culture:

  1. Coaching culture is achieved via lots of coaching, as if sheer quantity of programs could change a culture. True culture change is not an accessory that can be clamped onto the current system. It has to touch both formal and informal processes and be embraced because it just works better.
  2. Changing to a coaching culture can be the flavor of the month. The glittering possibility of an inspiring, creative, and humane workplace attracts us, but overly optimistic pictures can blind us to ineffective approaches.

It’s best to think of this kind of culture change using metaphors like farming. Farming implies starting small, planting many seeds, and being willing to nurture the process through multiple stages. Organizations that successfully implement a coaching culture approach the process in phases. This White Paper challenges you to avoid these assumptions as you cultivate a coaching culture throughout your organization.

Why a Coaching Culture?

Coaching is most well-known as a collection of techniques or a professional service, but beneath the prominent public face are key assumptions and a philosophy of human change, accomplishment, and well-being. Coaches ask questions, encourage exploration, reluctantly advise, and show well developed listening and feedback skills. These are the superficial manifestations of a view of human relations that radically embraces the competence of each person. A coaching view affirms that by inspiring discovery, reflection, and persistence in another person, that person becomes capable of significantly greater achievement, deeper and broader thinking, and more consistent expression of their values over time.

We have all experienced relationships that inspired us and suffered under others that demoralized us. Consistently, the qualities associated with coaching, such as deep self-awareness, genuine interest and caring expressed through curiosity, open questioning, and listening, are the ones that energize us and generate creativity and commitment.

Part of the power of coaching is that it gives a mechanism for leaders to balance toughness of mind with consideration for the emotional climate of those they lead. Coaching is mostly about getting to the truth, but what makes it powerful is its assumption that the recipients of uncomfortable truths can and will change. Coaching never misleads others about the consequences of their actions, choices, and relationships. Coaching is about discovering the whole truth, facing the tough issues, and creating a liberating space for improvement.

Coaching culture is not just “doing coaching.” It’s having the conversations that may not usually happen—across functions, across levels—to make sure we understand and can act in ways that amplify collaboration, agreement, and alignment.

To make this more explicit, we will first describe different kinds of situations in which coaching may be valuable. These are not programs, but illustrations of how a coaching mindset shapes many kinds of conversations needed for vibrant organizational cultures. We will call these practical expressions of coaching culture.

Click here to read the full White Paper.


 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

The 5 Warning Signs your New Leaders are Derailing

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In our last newsletter we focused on the 12 Challenges First-time Managers Have and ways to support new leaders encountering these challenges. Expanding on this theme, we want to look at the small warning signs that could lead to bigger trouble down the line.


Gil could fix any problem you put in front of him. Need a report by noon? They gave it to Gil. Need to find something in the data that no one else could? Gil could find it, write about it and present it in a way that made sense. His technical expertise was sought after throughout the entire organization. You didn’t need to tell Gil what to do; he would just do it, and go above and beyond what was needed. As productive as he was, he thought he was a shoe-in to be the next manager of the department. All he had to do was pass the interview.

But he didn’t. Despite all that he knew, the organization didn’t think he had the skills or the experience to make that all-important transition from stand-out producer to leader. Gil felt humiliated and, eventually, left the organization.


Does Gil sound like someone (or a lot of people) in your organization: that “golden child” or “rock star” or ever-growing list of high-potentials who are so good that you think they should be promoted from individual contributors to leaders, but whose career later derailed when you realized it was a mistake?

How do you know if you have employees like Gil? Here are five warning signs, based on decades of research, that your current or soon-to-be new leaders may be on the verge of derailing:

  1. Problems with interpersonal relationships: Do your new leaders have trouble developing good working relationships? Are they “lone wolves” who are often seen as cold, arrogant and insensitive?
  2. Difficulty building and leading a team: Do your new leaders struggle to transition from being a team member to being a team leader? Can they staff and form their teams effectively? Can they handle differences and conflicts among team members?
  3. Difficulty changing and adapting: Do your new leaders have difficulty changing their mindsets? Are they resistant to changing, learning from mistakes, and growing and developing as leaders? Can they adapt to people with different work styles? Can they adapt to the strategic approach necessary in their new leadership position?
  4. Failure to meet business objectives: Are your new leaders actually performing well? Or do they over-promise and under-deliver? Do they lack follow-through?
  5. Overly narrow functional orientation: In research on derailment, this warning sign is the one that tends to stick out the most for new leaders. Think of it as the classic salesperson who was so good at sales that she was promoted to lead the sales staff. In this leadership role, however, she could not stop being a salesperson and switch to being a leader, with all the added responsibility and understanding of others outside the sales function.

If a lot of your new leaders (or those who are groomed to be leaders) are showing these signs, there are ways to help—and there’s no time to waste. Based on my research on almost 300 new leaders, I encourage new leaders, and those who develop them, to concentrate on six key areas. If we can make it clear how new leaders must change (or, as I like to call it, flip) their (1) mindset, (2) skill set, (3) relationships, (4) do-it-all attitude, (5) perspective and (6) focus, we can prevent potential derailment.

We need to do it sooner rather than later. When research participants are asked, “How long does it take to know if a person promoted into his or her first leadership position failed in making that transition?”, the average response is just a little over 140 days. That means we in the training and development field have about 20 weeks to make sure our newest leaders don’t derail. That’s not a lot of time!

I will admit, in a “former life,” I was Gil. I didn’t even make it past the interview, and my career derailed. That’s probably why I’ve become so passionate in helping new leaders; I don’t want them to end up like Gil … I mean me.

Both new leaders and those who want to be leaders need—and, frankly, deserve—more of our time and attention. We should make it a priority to alleviate potential derailment by supporting people who are making one of the most difficult transitions in their careers: the one from rock-star individual contributors to superstar leaders.

William A. (Bill) Gentry, Ph.D., is director of leadership insights and analytics and a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) in Greensboro, NC. He is the author of the book “Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For: A Guide for New Leaders.”

 

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” —Warren Bennis

8 Reasons to Make Time for Professional Development

Personal Learning Strategies

If you’re a leader, you know how important it is to ensure your team is given plenty of training and development opportunities. However, it’s just as important to focus on your own learning and development.  Why?
When you make learning a priority, you increase your value – You’re more marketable as a professional, and you’re in a better position to get that promotion or challenging project.  Continuous learning also helps you develop expert power where others are far more willing to respect your opinion and follow your lead.
To do this, it’s essential to set aside enough time…..but how can you make time?

1. Set Learning Goals
Identify your learning objectives, and visualize how these will help you achieve the other professional goals you’ve set. What do you want to get from your learning? And why are you making time to learn?  Break the goals down into chunks that you can add to your daily/weekly to do list.

2. Identify Obstacles
Come up with strategies to overcome obstacles that most likely will come up. Example – you’ve committed to spending half an hour reading a book when you get home. What do you need to plan for to ensure this time is not pushed off?

3. Think Small
Many assume that we’ll need large chunks of time to devote to learning. However, short blocks of time can be just as effective, if you focus.  Look at your To-Do List, and see what you can achieve in the time available.

4. Learn at Your Best
Many people schedule their learning for a time when they’ve completed everything else. However tempting this may be, think about how you feel when you’ve accomplished everything on your to-do list. You’re usually exhausted, right? Everyone has different peaks and valleys in their energy levels. Find yours.

5. Make Learning a Habit
You’ll only be able to sustain your learning if you make it a habit.  Developing any habit takes work, at least 21-days of repetition and self-discipline.  To build a habit, look at your schedule and see how you can work time for learning in every day.

6. Choose the Right Learning Style
Do know how you learn best? Some people learn and retain information best when they can read and take notes. Others are active learners; they need to learn by doing something themselves. Find yours and resources to embrace your style.

7. Collaborate
It’s often easiest to learn in collaboration with others; when you join a community that makes learning a priority, these people can also hold you accountable for your learning goals.  Perhaps colleagues with the same goal of learning?

8. Delegate Tasks
Your day is likely full of tasks that you’re responsible for. So, how are you going to fit learning in?  Is there anything you can delegate with your professional or personal responsibilities?  Even a half hour cleared in your schedule can then be used to work on your learning goals.

Key Points
Lifelong learning is essential if you want to stay “in demand” in a changing business world.  Will you devote the time in the coming year?

Source:  MindTools