Kirsty Dean from Passion Inc is speaking at our Learning & Development Thought Leaders' Conference. Below she has written a guest blog for us:
George is an admired member of the team. Experienced, driven and an attitude that inspires others. Today is her exit interview. Having struggled to gain clarity on where the company is going, she’s leaving to work for a competitor. Andy’s been approached by a recruiter. He likes everything he reads on your website and he ticks all the boxes. However, Andy’s friend Laurence, already works for you and says that the story is very different on the inside. Andy declines the offer and keeps looking.
Attracting and retaining talent in today’s competitive and connected world is challenging and means engaging your people in a whole new way, and it starts with your leaders.
The ability for leaders to continually engage and connect people with the future direction and vision of the business is vital. Furthermore, the role of leaders in creating cultures where people are motivated to perform at their very best is being recognised as a key differentiator for the future.
Gallup, however, has recently found that only 1 in 10 people actually possess the talent to manage, and advises that “To meet changing expectations…European firms must adopt management strategies that more effectively prioritise employee development, positivity and future orientation.”
So, how do you go about improving the people tasked to drive the business forward into the future? Here are 5 actions that will make a difference:
Create Inspirational Leadership Communities
It’s only too easy for leaders to get consumed by the day-to-day business of hitting targets and keeping on top of operational issues.
It’s important that your leaders have ‘pause points’ - time to step back, reflect and generate the kind of thought leadership which captures hearts as well as minds. Start by identifying who your key influencers are and work with them to ensure they feel fully engaged with the business and are committed to engaging, supporting and developing diverse and effective teams.
Provide Clarity of Purpose
Having a compelling story to tell is essential to any successful business. Your leaders need to be able to answer key leadership questions: ‘Where are we going? Why should you follow? How will we get there? How can I get involved?’ When your teams can answer these questions, you know your leadership is clear and strong.
Develop Leadership Storytellers
Great leaders naturally use storytelling skills to engage people with a journey of change. As humans, we’re hard-wired to remember stories – a fact largely forgotten by the business world.
Ignite the power of the story - whether it’s articulating a simple narrative from complex business information, cascading a set of key messages or capturing stories of success and lessons learnt.
Encourage Ownership and Innovation
If you don’t feel connected to the big picture and turn up to work just to keep your inbox under control and get along to the right meetings, chances are your creative brain won’t turn up with you too often. Work to develop cultures which help people remember what they’re trying to achieve, and see their ideas and actions are contributing to a wider purpose.
Align Internal Communication Messages and Channels
In large organisations it’s only too easy for messaging to be uncoordinated and uninspiring. Work out what everyone needs to know, and share it in way they’re likely to listen, while streamlining any repetitive or irrelevant communication to ensure that people can focus on what matters.
By investing in developing the engagement skills of your leaders, you can build momentum and motivation to get you where every business wants to be – ahead of the competition, maintaining the advantage, and confident of growth in a fast-changing and ever evolving world.