The role of “leader” consists of many parts. Not only must leaders excel in their field and manage multiple tasks at once, but they must also unify their teams around a shared vision in order to propel the enterprise forward. This coalescence can only occur with strong communication. That said, leadership communication skills don’t come easily to everyone, and even those who have a knack for it can always seek improvement. Whether you’re struggling to hold your people together or want to level up your emotional intelligence, here’s how an established leader such as yourself can become a better communicator.
How to Best Communicate With Your Team
Make a Routine of Checking in With Employees
For better or worse, humans are creatures of habit. We can use this feature to our advantage by creating positive routines and adjusting them when necessary. When it comes to bolstering your communication skills as a leader, hosting regular check-ins with individuals and teams is a useful habit to establish. These meetings can vary in frequency and length, so long as it becomes an expected event. Not only will these regular check-ups aid in employee management, but they’ll also make your people feel more comfortable opening up to you. The more you listen to your employees’ ideas and concerns, the easier it will be to discuss these matters honestly with each and every one of them.
Cater Your Message Accordingly
Competent leadership communication is flexible, adapting to the audience in question. By getting to know your people better (as mentioned above), you can figure out the right way to reach them. Put simply, you always want to meet your audience where they are. Otherwise, you risk alienating (or even offending) them. Crafting your communication style carefully is an exercise in empathy — plus, it’s much more effective.
Simplify Complex Ideas
Clarity is key in communication. After all, you can’t get a message across to anyone if they can’t make heads or tails of what you’re saying. In many ways, the biggest hurdle of leadership communication is taking complex ideas and reducing them in such a way that everyone can understand and care about them without sacrificing anything vital. As an expert, you might intrinsically know what a certain data set is saying or how a certain process works, but there’s no guarantee that your employees will share your comprehension. To become a more effective leader and communicator, focus on what’s relevant to your people and build from there; getting into the weeds can wait until you’ve gotten your team on the same page.
Mind Your Body Language
Communication is about more than the words coming from your mouth; it’s also about how you’re delivering the message. Humans are designed to read body language. Indeed, your body language can send a stronger message than your words in some cases. Open arms and smiles tend to be infectious and welcoming, while folded arms and frowns can dampen morale. Ultimately, you want your movements to match and/or elevate what you’re trying to convey (this comes naturally to some but not to everyone). If you’re having a hard time getting your physicality to fit your message, partaking in executive communication coaching courses focused on body language can be a major help.
Ask Your Teams for Feedback
No matter how hard you work on improving your communication skills, you won’t know how well you’re doing unless you receive honest feedback from your people. Asking your employees for their thoughts on your performance is a great way to build trust and cultivate a more transparent company culture. Moreover, taking this feedback to heart will help you grow as a leader and communicator, so long as you make adjustments based on responses you receive.
Establishing Stronger Communication
Even the most seasoned leaders have room to grow. Sharpening your communication skills will only improve your culture and allow your company to reach new heights.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Generational gaps are inevitable in businesses that stick around long enough. These age-related rifts can be both beneficial and detrimental. On the one hand, people who grew up in different eras will have unique perspectives on current dilemmas, which can be synthesized into optimal solutions. Unfortunately, these varying perspectives can also create roadblocks, conflicts, and even feelings of resentment — a younger employee might feel like their ideas aren’t being taken seriously, while an older employee might feel undermined by an up and coming workforce that deems their ideas antiquated.
In many instances, leaders within a company tend to have more experience under their belts, which means they’re responsible for overseeing several employees who are younger than them. If such a leader isn’t tactful in their approach to employee management, they can end up pushing this younger generation away. This is a lose-lose situation, as both parties stand to miss out on key insights provided by the other. With that in mind, here are some ways a leader can properly influence a younger generation without judgment or major conflict.
How to Influence Younger Employees
Listen to Your Employees
We often think of a leader’s role as merely giving orders and overseeing projects. While delegation and oversight are key components of leadership, nothing is more important than communication. Leaders should listen just as much as they speak (if not more). Indeed, if you want to steer your younger employees in a positive direction, you must let go of your ego and truly take their ideas into account. You might have more experience, but this doesn’t mean you have all the answers. And if you dismiss your employees, they’ll begin to dismiss you as well. Communication is a two-way street, and if you want your wisdom to reach your younger employees, you must open yourself to their wisdom, too.
Appreciate and Utilize the Younger Generation’s Strengths
As you learn from the younger generation, you’ll quickly figure out that they’re adept at certain things you might not be, such as social media usage, coding, multitasking, etc. Rather than balk at these skills or deem them unimportant, use them to your company’s advantage. Allowing your people to play to their strengths will boost morale and benefit your business in multiple ways. You can then insert your expertise where it counts most.
Understand What Younger Workers Care About and Open Yourself to Change
One of the negative stereotypes younger workers often place on their older counterparts is that they’re stuck in the past and unwilling to adjust their point of view or methodology. Some leaders certainly fall into this category, and it’s natural to resist change no matter our age. If your goal is to reach your younger employees in a meaningful way, however, you must make an effort to understand their view of the workplace and adapt accordingly. Things were undoubtedly different when you were their age, after all. Today, most young people don’t want their work to be their entire life. This isn’t to say that younger people aren’t able or willing to work hard, but rather that they seek a healthy work/life balance. As such, millennials value companies that offer flexible scheduling, remote work options, an easygoing company culture, and so on. Whether or not you share these opinions, cultivating a workplace with more modern appeal will allow you to hire and retain top talent and create a stronger impression on your people.
Establish Common Values
Generational gaps are primarily fueled by perceived differences in values. When you dig a bit deeper, though, it often becomes clear that one generation shares most of the foundational values of the other. People of different eras might have different conceptions of what these values mean or look like, but just about everyone agrees that responsibility, respect, integrity, kindness, family, etc., are fundamental across the board. Simply discussing these values can bring people of all backgrounds together. You might be surprised at how much common ground there is between you and younger generations.
Cultivate Leadership Growth
Time doesn’t stop for anyone, and a new generation will always be there to take the place of the previous one. This can be difficult to accept, but coming to grips with this reality is key for proper succession planning. Simply put, if you want your company to have a lasting legacy, you need to cultivate new leaders and prepare them for more significant roles. In this way, investing in ongoing leadership development for the younger generation is essential to ensuring your business’ ongoing success. Additionally, investing in your people is a display of respect and encouragement. People of all generations like to learn and be recognized for their accomplishments.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
The most successful businesses are always looking towards the future while focusing on the present. Indeed, your short-term goals and day-to-day actions should contribute to the bigger picture. The continuous development of your employees, then, should be a top priority. Spending time and resources on your people’s growth is an investment in your enterprise’s prosperity. Let’s dive deeper into why proper employee and leadership development leads to long-term success for both your business and your employees.
The Benefits of Employee Development
Some people truly enjoy their work, but you can’t (nor should you) expect all of your employees to commit their whole selves to your business. That said, you also don’t want your people to feel disconnected from or disinterested in your operations and vision. Ideally, your employees will feel like they have a stake in what goes on, that their contributions matter, and that a win for the company translates to a win for the team. Focusing heavily on performance management and employee development is one way to increase engagement. Recognizing your employees’ accomplishments and providing them with opportunities to grow with the organization cultivates investment — when your people feel like they can expand their skills, influence the company, and earn more, they will become more engaged in every aspect of their work and your organization will thrive as a result.
Every company requires fresh and diverse points of view to constantly adapt and improve. If your employees lack avenues for leadership growth, however, the old guard of leadership will eventually exhaust its creative capabilities, and the business will become stagnant. The best way to innovate in your industry is to build up young and budding employees, allowing them to take on new roles and truly listening to their unique perspectives. Of course, your people must feel confident in bringing new ideas to the table — this confidence stems directly from long-term employee development.
Finding promising candidates for your organization is a challenge all its own; retaining these quality hires is in some ways even more difficult, especially in highly competitive markets. In our previous article, “How Long-Term Leadership Development Helps You Keep Your Best Talent,” we broke down the ways in which investing in your employees incentivizes them to stick with your company and improve your company culture in the long run. Indeed, businesses that regularly give their employees new opportunities and recognize their strengths have far stronger retention rates than those that keep their people in their lanes. Not only does proper employee development help you retain top talent — it also helps you attract other valuable candidates. When a potential hire is made aware of the growth opportunities your organization offers, they’re more likely to want to become a part of such a culture.
Businesses that outlive their founders and make a mark on the community keep succession planning in mind at all times. Simply put, if you want your company to thrive for generations, you must always be on the lookout for employees with the potential to lead it into the future. The best way to ensure a strong transition of leadership from old to new is to constantly cultivate fresh leadership in your organization — the more leaders you have, the easier it will be to fulfill vacant roles and create new ones. In this way, proper employee management and development will help to secure your company’s legacy. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
The “virtual office” isn’t a new notion by any means, but the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the world has made remote work the norm rather than the exception for countless businesses. While some companies saw a smooth transition to these workplace changes, others had a more challenging time adapting to them and continue to struggle with the ramifications of working from home. There’s no denying the obvious differences between in-person and remote work (e.g., no more commutes, less interaction, adjustments in hours, etc.), but these surface-level distinctions have broader implications on productivity, mental health, relationships at every level, company culture, and more. Those companies that can hold onto and even improve these aspects of their enterprise in the midst of such a global shift will have a major advantage moving forward, and every employee will benefit to boot.
Let’s go over how to manage employee relations effectively and maintain a strong culture despite remote working conditions.
How to Keep Relationships While Working Remote
Don’t Avoid Company Culture Conversations
When everyone is suddenly working from home, there’s often an elephant in the virtual room that needs addressing. That metaphorical elephant represents the clear change in communication and culture that occurs when people stop seeing each other face to face. Rather than ignore the obvious, though, leaders should point it out and spark conversations about workplace culture, how it’s changed, and how it can be improved. These conversations will keep everyone thinking about and discussing tangible short- and long-term goals that can be achieved virtually and, when the time comes, in person.
Take Advantage of Modern Technology
We’re fortunate to live in a time that offers so many methods of long-distance communication — phone calls, video chats, text-based chat rooms, and message boards, etc. While there’s no replacement for in-person interactions, there are also countless opportunities to keep in touch with team members throughout the workday when working remotely. If you’re concerned about keeping up with employee relationship management, then use this technology to your advantage in practical and creative ways — have regular video meetings to go over projects and discuss new ideas, host virtual happy hours weekly or monthly to unwind and discuss non-work-related matters, replace the time normally reserved for commuting with remote coffee or breakfast check-ins with employees, have lunch over video call with team members, the list goes on. The bottom line is this: communication is key for maintaining strong management-employee relations, boosting team morale, and fortifying culture. Of course, you’ll want to make sure each of your employees has access to the necessary technology to partake in these various virtual activities.
Encourage a Proper Work-Life Balance
Finding a healthy balance between work and non-work can be a challenge for many people, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Of course, striking this balance is even more difficult during remote working conditions. Working from home creates a dynamic in which it’s difficult to separate one aspect of your life from another. Even if you have a dedicated home office, you’re never far from your living room, TV, child/children, pet(s), etc., during the workday. And when you’ve finished your work for the day, it can be hard to switch your brain from “work” to “play” when you’ve never left your home to begin with. This lack of boundaries between work and life can quickly lead to burnout and negatively affect one’s mental health. It’s up to leaders to encourage and exemplify a healthy work-life balance, so employees don’t feel trapped in their work or too distracted to get anything done. You can do this by:
- Providing resources for employees regarding these matters to help them achieve a positive balance in their own lives
- Establishing boundaries that limit or restrict work-related communications to a certain range of hours (e.g., 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.) so employees aren’t tied to work at all times
- Prioritizing productivity over hours worked, so employees feel free to set their own hours and work at their own pace
Different companies will have different ways of promoting a good work-life balance; making this a priority and leading by example is one of the best leadership qualities you can have.
Recognize Your People and Accomplishments
Lastly, don’t let virtual work take away from the important ritual of workplace recognition. Whether in-person or remotely, everyone likes to feel seen for their contributions and accomplishments, and recognizing your people for their hard work is key in maintaining strong relationships and strengthening your culture. In many ways, employee/team recognition is more important than ever now that so many of us are working from home, as it’s normal for people to feel underappreciated and unseen when siloed from their coworkers and managers. Letting your people know that their work and fortitude haven’t gone unnoticed is an important role for all leaders during this time and in general.
Remotely Challenging Times
Navigating leadership in times of stress and change like the ones we’re currently living in is no walk in the park. That said, current remote working conditions provide the perfect opportunity for companies and leaders everywhere to test their strengths, bolster their weaknesses, and create an even more cohesive company culture that can withstand the most difficult circumstances.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.
One year ago, when COVID-19 was just starting to acquire its pandemic status, few people could have anticipated what the following months would have in store. The early toilet paper shortages and panic buying seem somewhat quaint compared to the havoc wrought on individuals, families, and businesses between then and now. With effective vaccines and rapid distribution on the way, there is now a light at the end of this tunnel. That said, even when the pandemic ends, the world will have to deal with its consequences for many years to come.
Business leaders are already looking ahead to what the future may hold while battling the burnout that has plagued everyone, from students, workers, leaders, and owners alike. As we’ve discussed before, the stress of leadership can be daunting enough to deal with during normal times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this pressure. Businesses everywhere have had to lay off or furlough employees, suddenly switch to remote work protocols, reduce hours and customer capacity, adjust their supply chain, implement intensive cleaning and disinfection protocols, and so on. One year in, people everywhere are on their last legs, and leaders are no exception.
How to Lead Your People if They’re Burnt Out from COVID-19
Prioritize Self-Care and Stress Management
When challenging times arise and work piles up, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pushing yourself past your limits to keep up with deadlines. You might be able to go on this way for a little while, but eventually, your work will suffer — more importantly, so will your mental and physical health. This common situation describes burnout, and it can take a long time to reignite the flame. It’s better to prevent that proverbial flame from burning out in the first place by maintaining its heat and oxygen through self-care. In our previous blog on managing leadership stress, we discussed key ways to take care of your overall well-being, such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness (i.e. meditation, yoga), staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet, and taking breaks for enjoyment and relaxation when needed. Encouraging your employees to do the same by sharing your experience with these stress-relieving techniques is key for preventing (or at least mitigating) COVID burnout in your workplace. When everyone feels motivated to take care of themselves first and foremost, they will be better equipped to handle the challenges before them.
Keep on Communicating
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: communication is one of the most important leadership qualities there is. And during COVID-19, strong communication has never been so crucial. At the most basic level, your people should be regularly informed about how the business is navigating COVID-related challenges. Any updates and changes must be clearly delivered, and everyone should feel free to ask questions and voice their concerns. Considering the nature of this pandemic, you may need to convey these messages via virtual meetings, emails, and other means. To keep burnout at bay, your communication style should be steeped in empathy — if you’re feeling burnt out, odds are your peers, partners, and employees are, too. Use your emotional intelligence to understand the shared and unique challenges faced by others to enhance your organization’s sense of community. Hosting virtual and community events will help you maintain and improve your company culture so everyone feels connected and valued.
Simplify Your Processes
If anything good has come from COVID-19, it’s that this pandemic has revealed what matters most, both in terms of everyday life and in business. While the initial shock of COVID sent many businesses into a frenzy, many that have been able to recover have gradually adjusted their priorities and trimmed the fat in key areas. Simplifying your processes by streamlining tasks, delegation, and your broader vision can reduce the risk of burnout and ultimately reshape your business in positive ways. You might, for instance, realize that remote work is a powerful tool for team management and that it greatly reduces overhead costs associated with rent, energy, commuting, etc. Every business and employee is different, of course — while some might appreciate the freedom of working from home, others might require more structure and crave in-person encounters. How you decide to adjust and simplify your processes during this latter portion of COVID-19 and afterward will depend on what you learn during this time. The key is paying attention to what your people are feeling and how it’s affecting your bottom line.
Keep the Big Picture in View
As we stated earlier, the implications of COVID-19 will carry on far beyond its official conclusion, contributing to leadership stress and potential burnout. As such, you must view this situation as a marathon rather than a sprint. The day-to-day doings of your business matter, but thinking too small and short-term can cloud your judgment and impede your view of the future. Of course, looking too far ahead can induce plenty of stress in its own right. To avoid burning out in either sense, you want to achieve a balance between short- and long-term thinking, where the way you handle things each and every day is informed by where and how you wish to steer your team and enterprise. In order to accomplish this, you must focus on becoming more adaptable and resilient, regularly taking stock of what is and isn’t working so you can fine-tune your business for the future.
Providing strong leadership in times of stress and change is no small feat, but it’s essential for alleviating burnout in yourself and your team. Taking care of your own well-being, maintaining emotionally-intelligent communication, simplifying your operations based on necessary changes, and implementing long-term thinking will allow you to lead your organization to a brighter future despite these challenging times.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.
Sourcing the best candidates for your business is challenging enough — keeping them around for the long haul can be even more difficult. In such a competitive global economy, employees that exhibit strong leadership skills are in high demand. As your people continue to develop, then, they may come closer to abandoning ship to explore other opportunities. While you can’t force anyone to stay, retaining your top talent is integral to the growth and legacy of your enterprise. So, how can you retain your employees as they grow professionally? Here are some thoughts.
How to Grow and Still Retain Employees
Continue Focusing on Leadership Development
If you adopt a cynical mindset, you might think that developing leadership talent will only serve to pry your best employees away from your business — after all, the more skills they develop, the more leverage they have in the workplace. As it turns out, though, focusing on leadership development is actually one of the best ways to keep your employees around. By offering ongoing, rigorous training and education, your company provides value to your employees, which they will reciprocate in direct and indirect ways. For instance, the more adept your people become, the more productive and creative they will be — these outcomes benefit your bottom line and broaden your business’ prospects. In other words, investing in your employees will encourage them to invest back into the company, ideally for the long-run.
Open New Doors For Top Talent
As your people grow professionally, you want to make sure they don’t outgrow the scope of your business — otherwise, they’ll likely move on. No one likes feeling stuck where they are or overqualified for their position, after all. If you want them to stick with you, then, you’ll need to expand the number of opportunities you offer your employees. This might mean creating brand new roles to better suit a specific employee’s skill set, shifting around teams, tasking top talent with fresh challenges and responsibilities to keep them sharp and engaged, and so on. These efforts tie directly into your long term succession planning as well — by challenging your people and letting them explore new positions, you can better gauge who is fit to take over key roles within the company.
Commit to Strengthening Your Company Culture
Never underestimate the importance of your organization’s culture when it comes to retaining your employees. Simply put, most people would rather stay with a company that respects them, recognizes their achievements and efforts, provides ample growth opportunities, and promotes a healthy work-life balance as opposed to the alternative (even if said alternative offers a slightly higher salary). This isn’t to say, however, that merely putting on a happy face and patting your people on the back is enough to keep them around. The key to cultivating a company culture that encourages people to stay is maintaining transparency, being flexible, and compensating employees for the value they bring to the company.
Growing With Your People
Employee retention and succession planning go hand in hand. While it’s true that helping your employees grow into capable leaders runs the risk of losing them to other opportunities, you won’t be able to secure the legacy of your company if you can’t foster the growth of your people and incentivize them to stay. By focusing on continual leadership development, granting your people with new opportunities, and cultivating a strong company culture, your business will grow right alongside your top talent, and vice versa. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
The term “company culture” has undoubtedly become a buzzword, but this doesn’t mean the concept lacks merit or importance. Indeed, the importance of company culture cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, it cannot be easily quantified either. Every company operates differently, after all, and there are no hard and fast rules for establishing, maintaining, or adjusting a company’s culture. That said, if your business is falling behind, losing employees, struggling to onboard solid people, etc., chances are your culture is the culprit, at least in part.
Conversely, a strong company culture often yields growth, boosts morale, increases reputation, and spurs innovation. Why? Simply put, humans are social creatures that thrive in environments that offer and encourage both freedom and collaboration. If we don’t feel comfortable expressing our ideas in an open, receptive environment, a lot will go unsaid, and a company can grow stale as a result. Likewise, people perform their best when they enjoy their work and the atmosphere in which they work — this atmosphere directly stems from culture.
So, the question remains: have you established a strong company culture? If you’re not sure, here are some ways to assess your current culture in order to improve it.
How to Establish a Strong Company Culture
Remember: Performance Often Reflects Culture
As just mentioned above, employee and team performance is inextricably linked to culture. Other factors come into play, of course, such as competence, how well someone fits their role, and elements that are mostly out of anyone’s control. For the most part, though, one way to gauge your current culture is to track performance. If you notice a decline or consistent lack of progress, these issues may stem from cultural issues. Perhaps employees do not feel adequately incentivized to perform better. Maybe there is a general lack of enthusiasm or morale. Team members may not feel well-connected, either, which can impede communication.
Turn to Your Turnover Rates
Your business’ turnover rates can also cue you into cultural problems. Some level of turnover is to be expected in any enterprise — people move, change careers, find better opportunities, and so on. However, if your company experiences high levels of turnover for your industry, this speaks to a weak, potentially toxic company culture. Strong company cultures make everyone feel welcomed and valued day in and day out. And team members are more likely to stick with a company that recognizes their contributions and compensates them accordingly. So, if you want to hang on to your best people, you must cultivate such a culture.
Recognize The Role of Human Resources
If your goal is to create and maintain a great company culture, you must properly invest in your human resources (HR) department. One of the main goals of HR departments is to build and influence a company’s culture for the betterment of all employees, teams, and the organization as a whole. In order to do this, HR leaders take on a number of responsibilities, such as facilitating training, education and communication; identifying, clarifying, and reinforcing company values; empowering individuals and teams; mediating, mitigating, and solving issues; recognizing individuals, teams, and organizational efforts, and more. HR leaders also play a pivotal role in the hiring process, helping to identify candidates that will fit into and/or enhance the existing company culture.
Hear From Your People
One of the best ways to get a pulse on your organization’s culture is to receive feedback from those within the company. You might distribute a standardized, anonymized company culture survey to collect key data. Your survey might feature a list of questions, prompts, and/or parameters for individuals to answer directly and/or rate on a scale of 1-5, “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” etc., such as:
- I feel like I have the opportunity to grow in this organization
- I like what I do
- I feel valued
- I trust my team
- I feel comfortable speaking my mind
- I feel heard
This information can be used to make sweeping and granular changes within your business to improve and adjust the culture as needed.
Finding the Balance Between Stability and Flexibility
A strong company culture is not necessarily an unmovable company culture. Put another way, the best workplace cultures should be sturdy but flexible enough to adapt to new challenges and developments. While businesses should exercise caution when changing company culture, they should not fear doing so when it is truly called for. Finding this balance between stability and flexibility is not always easy, which is why it is so important to collaborate closely with your HR departments, employees, and teams to establish a set of shared values that will properly move the organization, and everyone in it, forward.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
As attached as you might be to your company right now, there will come a time when it is either necessary or practical to make your exit. Of course, this eventuality might be decades away — regardless of when it happens, though, those in leadership roles must consider how the company will change as a result of their absence.
For many, these thoughts provide an ample source of leadership stress. And yet, avoiding them can lead to personal and company-wide problems down the road. If you have no exit strategy in place, you run several risks when you leave: your company might not survive the transition; the organization might radically change its values, mission, goals, etc. (perhaps for the worse); and/or the many efforts you made over the years might be lost.
So, what’s the solution? While there may be no single “secret” to exiting your company while keeping your legacy intact, here are some important ways to leave strategically and graciously.
How to Leave a Company With Good Standing
Identify and Develop Up and Coming Leaders
Your company should spend adequate time and resources developing leadership as a key component of its succession strategy. These efforts will allow current leaders to pass on values, strategies, knowledge, and more to employees who show promise and ambition. And in doing so, these up and coming leaders will be able to fill roles that are left open when someone finally exits. Strategic leadership training can take many forms, but its main focus should be to prepare newer employees to not only take over necessary responsibilities, but to manage them in ways that are commensurate with the company’s underlying values.
Cultivate a Firm Yet Flexible Culture
Every company is different, and therefore so is every company culture. That said, every organizational culture should have these core aspects in common — they should be firm enough to withstand major changes (such as the absence of certain leaders and employees), yet flexible enough to change and improve over time. During your time with the company, then, you should focus on establishing such a culture that, when you leave, the company still represents the core values you helped to imbue while healthily evolving based on societal and internal developments.
Put Financial Incentives in Place (ESOPs)
If you want you and your people to maintain a vested interest in your company, (financially speaking) even after leaving, developing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is one way to do so. It is worth noting that these plans can be quite complex and lead to various issues as well, so it’s important to weigh all of the potential costs and benefits with a certified exit planning advisor (CEPA) before making a final decision. Still, ESOPs can become a key component in your succession planning strategy, encouraging employees to take a larger stake in the company’s outcomes.
Leaving Doesn’t Mean Abandoning Ship Entirely
Depending on when and how you exit the company, you may still be able to play a role in its future success, imparting your wisdom and insights from a distance. For instance, you may be able to work as a part-time contractor or consultant to continue helping with leadership development and guiding the direction of the enterprise without steering the vessel. Your experience can be invaluable in helping employees and leaders deal with difficult decisions, stress, burnout, interpersonal issues, and so much more.
Leaving an organization is never easy, but taking the right steps during and after your time there can help set up the company for future success — success that is partially hinged on the contributions you have made and perhaps continue to make.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Your sales team has their work cut out for them, especially in today’s trying times. That said, the overall success of your business is directly tied to the success of your sales department. So, no matter how challenging the current economic landscape can be, you must do everything possible to ensure that your sales force doesn’t collapse entirely.
Every company is unique and therefore requires an individualized approach to proper sales team management. Still, there are certain steps every business can take to maintain its sales arm during the current pandemic. Let’s explore four ways to ensure your sales team can survive.
How to Consistently Improve a Sales Team
1. Create and Clarify Goals
Most people work their best when headed towards a goal, no matter how near or far it may be. The same goes for teams. By clearly laying out the company’s short- and long-term goals, your sales team will suddenly have a concrete reason to perform at its highest capacity.
That said, in most cases, sales are really hard right now. There is a lot of instability and uncertainty in the economy, which makes customers hesitant to sign new agreements. Short term goals during this “new normal” might be as simple as making X amount of calls per day. Or maybe making connections to have phone or video meetings to check in with clients – see how they are doing, listen to them, and ask how you can help, without even trying to sell. Once you hear their concerns, ask them if you can send them resources that your company provides related to those issues. Not sales material, but actual things they can use, even if your company isn’t the one that developed them. Unfortunately, the sales cycle might be a few more steps of relationship building for now.
2. Create a Positive and High-Performance Culture
Despite becoming another business buzzword, company culture does indeed play a major role in an organization’s success. In order to create a high-performance culture, you can’t neglect other cultural aspects in your workplace, such as employee morale, open communication, mutual respect, recognition, collaboration, etc. For your sales team to grow and improve, individual members must feel comfortable not just working with one another but also being with one another.
These issues can be a challenge- but certainly not impossible- during this time. With many companies working remotely, it is important to still maintain productive working relationships. Your company will most likely want to utilize video or phone conferencing systems to continue cultivating a sense of unity and team-based culture among staff.
3. Streamline Your Processes Together
The modern economy moves fast, so complex, cluttered sales strategies tend to fall behind the curve. If there is anything this situation has taught us, it is how important simple, seemingly boring processes are. If you have solid, well-thought-out processes in place that everyone is used to, it makes it much easier to address the more pressing and often more serious decisions of the current environment. Get your processes established quickly, communicate them clearly, make sure everyone has the tools necessary to follow them, and then start using them to ensure the continued success of your organization.
4. Conduct Regular Reviews
People have a hard time improving if they don’t receive regular feedback, and that is especially true in this untested climate. There is so much uncertainty in the air; your sales staff is likely to feel unsure of their performance as well. You can help this by having frequent conversations with salespeople to ensure they are doing ok. This should include ensuring they have all of the tools and technology they need, asking what their concerns are and addressing them whenever possible, and having more personal, intimate conversations that you previously might not have had. Ask about their families, their spouses, make sure they are well. It will help reinforce and build that culture we addressed earlier.
The four measures outlined above all come back to one essential ingredient for every business’ success: communication. In these trying times, we must all be extra vigilant about checking in on all fronts – salespeople with clients, management with staff, etc. Without an open line of communication between team members, sales managers, and other teams within your organization, you will struggle to set and achieve any goals. Conversely, a highly collaborative, communicative sales team will continue to adapt and navigate these unchartered waters.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
You work hard to find the best people for your business. All the time and resources spent screening, interviewing, following up, and making the final decision are worth it in the end when you finally land top talent.
However, hiring a well-suited individual is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’ve added value to your company. On the other hand, there’s no guarantee that this person will stick with you for the long haul. In other words, hiring top talent is only half the battle. Retaining this talent is perhaps even more important, and, in many ways, more challenging.
Opportunities are abundant in Lincoln, Nebraska and other major cities around the country (and the world). In this increasingly global and mobile economy, holding on to your best employees is more important than ever. Here’s how you can keep top talent from leaving your company in Lincoln, NE.
How to Retain Great Talent
It Starts With Recruitment
Companies that boast the highest retention rates attribute much of their success to their hiring process. Indeed, keeping employee retention in mind during recruitment efforts will help you narrow your search by honing in on aspects of your business that matter most. For instance, you should seek candidates that are well-suited not only for the position at hand, but also your workplace culture. You might pose certain questions to potential hires that will give you a sense of their values, loyalty, commitment, etc. Additionally, look for people who have histories of longevity with their past jobs.
Fortify Your Company Culture
Maintaining a well-defined company culture will help you choose candidates that will stay with you. That said, this culture must also be flexible and inclusive enough to continuously engage your people and give them a stake in your business. Simply put, if you want to keep your top talent around, let them at least in part shape the culture in meaningful, constructive ways. You must also keep up with the latest technologies and industry developments. If your business can’t evolve with your best people, they will grow beyond it.
Focus on Leadership Development
On that note of personal growth, one of the best ways to keep top talent from leaving your company is by investing in their continual development. Developing leadership talent within your organization doesn’t just convey your commitment to your people, but also adds tangible value to your business. As your employees expand their skill sets, they become integral parts of decision-making processes that improve your organization. In this way, fostering leadership development increases loyalty and buy-in. Additionally, developing your top talent is a key element in succession planning. The future and legacy of your business depend on retaining strong leaders.
Allow for Some Beneficial Breathing Room
You seek top talent for your business because you want to increase productivity and innovation. Keep in mind, though, that your best people are still susceptible to burnout. Pushing your people too hard is a losing strategy for keeping them around.
If you want your employees to continue adding value to your company, you need to offer them some value as well. You can consider things like offering more flexible hours and remote work privileges. Also, reconfigure your benefits packages to remain competitive and entice top talent for your company. And don’t skimp on your paid time off allowances. Getting away from work is paramount in managing leadership stress and maximizing productivity and retention in the long haul.
Offer Regular Feedback
Communication is crucial to keeping your top talent. Employees deserve praise when performing well, and they need to know when they’re falling behind. Without regular performance management feedback and constructive criticism, your people will remain clueless regarding their performance, potential, and value. This can lead to feelings of frustration and underappreciation, which can result in abandonment.
To avoid these outcomes, remain open and honest with your team members. Conduct frequent one-on-one meetings and don’t rush quarterly or annual reviews. And be open to feedback as well. Your top talent can clue you in to your own shortcomings to help you improve, too.
Onboarding the very best people is challenging enough. Don’t let them slip away. Your employees are your most valuable assets, and you must invest in them accordingly if you wish to continue reaping the benefits.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.Read More