Is your organization one where top talent goes to die? Have you been successful in finding and hiring great people in your organization and then wonder “where they went” once they started working? I’ve actually had clients admit that their company was the place where great talent goes to die. But, they couldn’t figure out why especially since they already had great talent who were supportive of the company’s mission & purpose.
It may be helpful to understand, or at least review, part of the mind-set of top-performers. In part, they need to know what success looks like and when they’ll actually reach that place.
Top-performers also need to be challenged. They won’t be content being contained in a box being told what to do. They’ll shut down and eventually leave for another opportunity that challenges them and where they can grow both professionally and personally.
In this situation, the team wanted and needed to be part of building the strategy to company’s road to success. They weren’t content with this task falling solely in the hands of the leader.
More importantly, the team needed to know that once they developed a strategy for success that the leader was going to buy into it.
Did you catch that?
The team needed to know that the leader bought into the strategy developed by the team instead of undermining it because, for example, it wasn’t the leader’s idea or the leader doubted the expertise and experience of the team.
The organization already had awesome talent that rivaled any in the industry. Now, that talent needed the support of the leader to let them do what they were hired to do.
Some leaders need to learn to let the team they hired do their job. It may be the missing link to an organization’s success. This may be a growth edge and easier said than done for many leaders.
If you’re a leader facing this challenge, I’d encourage you to step off your island and seek the objective input of others to hold you accountable in making this (or other) change. Whether it’s an executive/business coach, peer group or a swami of your choosing, taking that journey with someone far better ensures success and sustainability than going it alone.
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I’ve heard many business leaders with complaints similar to, “Why don’t my employees think for themselves?” or “Why do I always end up doing other people’s jobs?”.
As the leader/CEO/President, it’s often a big waste of time and money when you spend your time doing the job(s) of employees you’re already paying. Not to mention, you’re quite an overpaid manager. Plus, you’re likely the most passionate & qualified person in your organization to set the vision and direction. If you’re not filling that role, who is?
Unfortunately, unless your employees share your passion for your cause, it’s a long shot that you’re going to be able to genuinely motivate them consistently and for the long term. If you’re lucky, you may get occasional bursts of engagement by offering incentives and pep-talks. If you simply hire for technical competence and not for culture, I’d argue that you’re expectations are unreasonable that your employees will act and perform like a team. Instead, you’ll be hiring people who do a job from 9 to 5 to collect a paycheck. They won’t be engaged and you’ll likely be the one picking up the slack. In other words, they will be delegating to you.
How can you stop your team from delegating to you? Begin with the end in mind.
If you want your employees to be as engaged, reliable and creative as you are, you’re going to have to start by hiring people who are excited about the same cause you are. Your drive is fueled by something internal. There’s an emotional connection for you. In this respect, you’re not so unique. Human beings are hardwired to do just about whatever it takes to build, protect and advance a mission to which they are emotionally connected and is bigger than they are (eg., being a parent, athletes setting their sights on the Olympics, landing on the moon, etc.).
When everyone in your organization is excited about what your company does and why you do it, members of your team step up because they want the cause, and everyone associated with it, to succeed. They also don’t want to let their team down with their own poor performance. In other words, they willingly and enthusiastically share the load. You’ll find that they’ll even wrestle you for things on your “To Do” list so that you can focus on leading the organization.
Bear in mind that as the leader, when you’re clear about why your organization exists and where you’re headed, only then can you hire people who believe what you believe, who share your passion and are energized by your vision. Unless you’ve taken the time to define these elements and can effectively communicate them, you’re not going to be able to lead anyone in the direction of your goal or give them a reason to follow you.
Here’s your challenge: evaluate your current team and determine who is passionate about your cause. Other than a paycheck, you’re not doing anyone any favors if they’re not excited about where your organization is headed. Let them discover and pursue their passion.
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