As we build on the ideas presented in this series of articles, we focus on the third thing that great leaders do differently: They develop people.
(All six traits of great leaders are summarized in the textbox at the end of this article.)
In Part 1, Schwantes discussed how great leaders display authenticity.
In Part 2, he outlined how great leaders value their people, according to the Organizational Leadership Assessment created by Professor Jim Laub.
WEBINAR BONUS: Sign up here for “Six Servant Leadership Practices That Drive Performance and Increase Your Bottom Line.“
There are three exceptional ways that great leaders go about developing their people:
1. They provide opportunities for learning and growth.
What you’ll find in most healthy organizations is a high commitment to growing their employees. If you happen to work in such an environment, you’ll probably notice a strong bond between top leadership and training and human resources functions working together to:
2. They build up others through encouragement and affirmation.
The Gallup Organization has something to say about this. Their researchers spent decades accurately measuring employee engagement, which resulted in their Q12 Engagement Survey. They have interviewed more than 25 million employees around the world to find the core of a great workplace.
The 12 questions are designed to be posed to employees. And from the perspective of the employee, many of the questions, I will submit to you, point to the principles of encouraging and affirming employees to be the best they can be.
The results can also be boiled down to 12 “look-in-the-mirror” questions that every leader, manager, executive or HR professional can ask to understand how their companies measure up the key elements needed to keeping their most talented employees.
If you’re a manager, and your employees were asked the following about you, how would you do?
The research also makes a strong business case for growing leaders in management roles. Employees who responded more positively to these questions worked in business units with higher levels of productivity, retention and customer satisfaction. The opinions formed by employees pointed to their immediate managers as the critical player in building and maintaining a great workplace. Once again, as the old saying goes, people leave managers, not companies.
3. They Have Honest Conversations During the Onboarding Process.
First of all, if you’re new to onboarding, we’re not talking about orientation during the first day or week of hire. Some effective onboarding can extend three-to-nine months after a hire date, some longer. Research is saying that a typical employee’s mind isn’t made up about staying or leaving a new company until month six! Companies are catching on to this emotional element and doing something about it.
I want to bring out some key questions that you should ask to find out if you are doing the things that lead to a great new hire experience. These questions are meant to trigger a response for you to be more intentional about having conversations that lead to high employee engagement during those crucial first few months.
Let’s end with a question to think about: What are some great techniques that you currently use to develop your people?
(In September, Carrier Management will publish another installment of this article series: “How Great Leaders Build Community.”
On September 8, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. EST, Schwantes will host a webinar for Carrier Management readers titled “Six Servant Leadership Practices That Drive Performance and Increase Your Bottom Line. Sign up at http://www.leadershipfromthecore.com/webinars/.)