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The Leadership Philosophy Slowing the Employee Exodus

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - Joe Kiedinger

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Unfolded shirts and open shoe boxes litter the floor of your local big box store. You see it everywhere. Companies are in a tailspin trying to retain employees right now.

What’s the first thing leaders think when they attempt to fix this? My workers are failing me! I must push them harder and drive them to do more!

Though the ‘fast fix’ of putting pressure on your employees seems like the answer, it’s not. In fact, there’s no fast fix. Instead of adding to the stress of the staff members that are showing up and continuing to work hard for us, we need to pause and rebuild from the bottom up.

Those who have stuck out challenging times with us need to feel understood and engaged to remain happy in their work. And rebuilding engagement is a slow and deliberate process. You see, trust isn’t earned in a day. That’s why we need to start now, build gradually and remain consistent if we want to retain the employees we have.

So, how can we engage and retain our workers?

Adapting a Servant Leadership philosophy is a great place to start! Though its tenets have been around for hundreds of years, the phrase was first introduced by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s. Its main philosophy is that the goal of the leader should be to serve—and to inspire others through influence rather than authority. In other words, to motivate people to work hard for you because they respect you, not because they have to obey.

Ready to get started?

Here are some areas to re-imagine when you want to keep people engaged:

  • Be authentic
    • Be an honest, trustworthy leader
    • Be yourself and share a bit about your own life experiences
  • Treat others with dignity and respect
    • We’re all unique, not everyone wants to be treated the same way you do
    • Learn what dignifies each of your employees specifically
    • Get to know them and ask about their families
  • Flexibility
    • People’s needs vary widely
    • Be accommodating and understanding
  • Don’t micromanage
    • Set reasonable accountability measures then trust them to do well
    • Checking in multiple times per day or week sends the message that “I don’t trust you” or “You can’t do this right”
  • Inspire people
    • Bring some excitement to the workplace
    • Lift people’s spirits and share positivity
    • Make eye contact and dedicate time to each employee

JOE KIEDINGER

ACTION PLAN: I challenge you to choose an item on the list above and take one step today to bring it into your reality. Maybe you stop by one employee’s desk and ask what their weekend plans are. Just take one step today.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration.

Understanding where others are coming from is critical in communicating and working toward a common cause.