Let’s say you run a small business. One day you realized you need additional staff to help you achieve your goals and expand your business and so you started down the path of hiring someone. You spent a lot of time, effort and concentration and with some luck found the right person for the job at hand. Now you have to make sure you keep them. The easiest way to do that is to make sure they are looked after and that their professional goals are not being impeded by yours.
Companies have long understood this process, why do you think pension plans and benefits are offered as well as performance based bonuses, company outings, culture retreats, wellness programs, etc. Maybe your way of showing your staff you care about their well-being is coffee machine in the office, or team outings, or extended long weekends in the summer. Knowing what helps motivate your staff is the foundation on which to promote their welfare. An office full of caffeine nuts would love a coffee machine but if you have an office full of yoga buffs a water cooler makes more sense.
The point is that you have to know the goals of your staff in order to help them achieve them, just as they are helping you achieve yours. Corporate culture is more and more important as the younger generations come into the work force. Long gone are the days of one person staying at a company for 40 years and retiring on a pension. Studies show that good employees are tough to keep beyond 5 years. (Even less in more competitive industries)
The better you understand your team the easier it will be for you to do nice things that will help ensure they want to keep coming to work for you. Also, the better you know them the better you can ensure they are being looked after. Looking after your team is a big deal. It sometimes means that you stay late on that Friday, that you stand up for them in meetings and that you always act as a go between for your staff.
The sacrifices that you make for your team will build loyalty in them which you cannot buy. Your team looks to you for guidance, leadership, knowledge and recognition. It is vital that you recognize the efforts and successes in your team. Rewards can be simple, but make sure that they are tailored to them and genuine. Also, ensure that when credit comes down from the top about a team success that the entire team is recognized. Everyone knows that it was your leadership and guidance that helped achieve it, that’s what you’re paid to do, but your team must feel appreciated too; the more people know what they achieved the better they will feel.
Read the other leadership principles:
- Lead by example
- Make sound and timely decisions
- Seek and accept responsibility
- Achieve professional competence
- Know your troops and promote their welfare
- Develop leadership potential in your followers
- Train your troops as a team and employ them to their capabilities
- Appreciate your own strengths and weaknesses and pursue self-improvement
- Keep your team informed of the mission, the changing situation and the overall picture
- Ensure your followers know your meaning and intent and lead them to the accomplishment of the mission