The Great Resignation - Why Effective Leadership is More Important Than EverOct 29, 2021
A recent survey by Microsoft indicates that more than 40% of the global workforce are actively looking for alternative employment. Other research has supported this trend and estimated the number even higher. The question I have for you is: do you know how much of your top talent is thinking about leaving your organization - or actively working on it? And do you know why? More importantly, do you know what to do about it?
These are tough questions, for sure, but important ones to be asking now. One thing is clear. Keeping your top talent will become more difficult than ever and it's critical to be prepared and to be proactive.
To what extent are your organization's leaders in touch with how their team members are feeling about their work, the culture of your organization, their opportunities and their mangers and leaders? If you participate in regular surveys of your workplace, you may know. But many organizations leave these questions to chance. And, now more than ever, that's dangerous.
Bottom line: it’s more important than ever to pay attention to the leaders in your organization and to ensure that they have both the mindset and the skills to handle this challenge.
One of the issues that has led to the great resignation is the sense that organizations - and their leaders - have not done enough to support the needs of their workers during the pandemic. In response to the challenges, many organizations placed the focus on how to maintain revenue or profits or customers -- all important -- but often at the expense of the workforce. What people experienced was a greater demand on their time, energy and attention with less flexibility to deal with the impact of the pandemic on their own lives and on their families.
Starting with adopting the right mindset, leaders need to demonstrate caring. For some, that comes naturally; for others, it's a stretch. And it's never been more essential to make the effort. We are all still living in an uncertain world with many unanswered questions, more stress, and a sense of overwhelm. The ability to help your team navigate ambiguity and chaos has become a critical leadership skill. And that includes knowing how to set the tone and the pace and the level of encouragement that your team needs, now more than ever.
Maintaining optimism and a positive outlook is also part of the required leadership mindset. People look to their leaders for cues on how to be, what to do and how to act. The importance of positive role models is critical to your organization's culture and how people feel about working there. The challenge is to balance authenticity with setting a positive, optimistic view of the future, while recognizing the -- sometimes brutal -- reality. This isn't easy in the best of times and in today's rapidly changing environment, the need for honesty and transparency should exceed any temptation to offer false hope.
In other words, there is a fine balancing line. And chances are, even the best leaders will cross that line at times. By being authentic, you build credibility to pull yourself back, along with the team.
From a skill-building perspective, some organizations backed off on their training and development investment during the last few years to lighten the load. However, people need and want to learn and to grow to stay relevant. The best leaders and the best organizations stepped up the pace of development. If your organization was not one of them, you may have fallen behind in the race to retain top talent and you need to play catch-up.
Investing in developing people continues to be a key element of leadership ability. In the best-case scenario, your leaders are embracing four key roles: as trainer, as mentor, as director and as coach. Within the process of leadership, you need to be able to teach people "how to," to show them the way, to let them try on their own, then to have them demonstrate their result. This process of development allows the flow of delegation and transfer of knowledge and skill from one person to the next, and one level to the next.
How are your leaders doing in each of these roles? What are you doing to improve their effectiveness?
In summary, here are the questions you should be asking right now:
- How much of your top talent is thinking about leaving your organization - or actively working on it?
- Do you know why?
- Do you know what to do about it?
- To what extent are your organization's leaders in touch with how their team members are feeling about their work, the culture of your organization, their opportunities and their mangers and leaders?
- How are your leaders doing with training, mentoring, directing, and coaching?
- What are you doing to improve their effectiveness?
If you don’t have absolute crystal clarity about the answers to these questions, now is the time.
Schedule a Discovery Session with Cheryl