Ask any good leader what their secret to success is and they will tell you it’s their people. The employees that show up day in and day out to do the work and drive the company forward.
But as a leader, how do you make sure that your team keep turning up engaged and motivated? You’d want to avoid making these five mistakes that often cause good employees to leave.
One of the most common traps employers can fall into is overworking their top employees. When you have a high performer who shows a high level of initiative and consistently delivers, it can be easy to keep giving them more work and the work of their less competent peers.
While it can make your top performers feel valued for a while, the impacts of stacking more and more work on employees without the proper support or accountability for others who aren’t doing what they’re meant to be doing can be damaging. There is a fine line between rewarding competence and taking it for granted. Top performers can quickly burn out and leave when they feel overworked.
By far, one of the biggest reasons good employees leave is a lack of growth. People want a clear pathway through the company or at least the opportunity to continue learning and growing.
In some cases, it isn’t possible to provide a promotion for some time due to a lack of movement up the top, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer growth opportunities. Develop your future leaders through executive coaching, provide the chance to learn new skills that will serve them in their career, like becoming an internationally certified coach or show them that you value them through a more encompassing title change or pay rise.
Work alongside your team to understand their career goals and then find ways to support them in making that a reality, particularly if there isn’t an opportunity for upwards movement for some time. A good coach can help you with these strategies
Having the ability to set your priorities and make your own decisions is incredibly important in the workplace. Autonomy increases job satisfaction, drives engagement, and gives employees a sense of ownership over their work that can drive better outcomes. Most importantly, it shows that you trust them to get the job done.
There is nothing more disempowering than being micro-managed or heavily instructed on how to complete every task. Not only does it prevent employees from feeling like they are contributing but forcing employees to work in “the way we’ve always done it” also prevents organisational progress through necessary improvement and innovation.
The need for recognition drives some employees, and they work harder when they receive it, so it is in your best interests as a leader to celebrate your team’s wins and recognise their abilities and effort.
When employees that do thrive on recognition aren’t appreciated, you can find that they shrink back and become less willing to provide insights and ideas. They don’t feel part of the team because their contribution isn’t recognised, and they can even become resentful, which can start to poison the views of others.
When people are searching for meaning in their work, not feeling aligned to the company vision, purpose, culture, or direction can be a key motivation for leaving.
With more and more people aware of the cost that working hard can have on personal relationships and life balance, employees want to feel like there is a valid reason for them to be putting the hard work in. For this reason, your internal ‘why’ and purpose must be strong to empower and continue engaging your employees.
What changes can you make to your leadership style today to ensure your employees feel validated, stay motivated? And stay with you.
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