By: Misti Burmeister
” If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”
– Margaret Fuller
As I mentioned in Part I of this series, both organizations and individuals must be hungry to reach their goals, regardless of their generation or the goal being pursued.Part I focused on how organizations must truly be “hungry” to attract, retain and motivate their employees as a necessary first step in making it possible to attain their goals. This newsletter will focus on seasoned professionals; January’s issue will conclude with a focus on young professionals.If your goal as a seasoned professional is to attract, develop, inspire, and cultivate talent, you must be hungry enough to take the necessary leadership steps to create an environment where your employees will thrive. Retention is the result.
If you are ready to see results in the motivation level and retention of your employees, please stop reading for a moment. Agree to maintain an open mind as you read on- because I’m going to give you some great ideas that may seem just too radical at first.
Seasoned professionals, hungry to retain talent, must be willing to consider a new way of inspiring others, regardless of generation. They must go out of their way to learn what is working well and what is not, and make changes to adjust to the shifting workforce. The result: increased loyalty, increased retention.
Many seasoned professionals have spoken with me after a speech or following a coaching session, looking for the “magic bullet” that will assist them in gaining loyalty among their employees. Almost immediately, they launch into comments negatively judging the very people they are trying to inspire, such as, “How do I get them to care more about what they are doing?” and “Young professionals are lazy. When I began in the workforce, I had to pay my dues and work hard to get ahead. These young professionals are simply unwilling to work hard. They want it all right now without having to gain vital experience.”
As for the “magic bullet” that so many people seem to want, there isn’t one! First, there is absolutely no power in saying, “They are unwilling to work hard.” Until you, as a leader, are willing to ask yourself how you can do a better job leading them, you will not begin seeing results.
When you are willing to ask this question, “Who am I being that is causing my employees to act this way?” then you are ready to take your leadership to the next level.
Leaders set the stage for their employees. If you, as a leader, are struggling with getting people to care about their job, do a good job or stay with your team, here are three specific ideas to get you started:
- Question your assumptions. If you are hearing, “I want balance,” or “Give me freedom and flexibility,” it is probably not that they are impatient and unwilling to pay their dues. Rather, it is more likely that they truly do not understand how what they do matters within your organization. They probably also do not know where their career is headed or how to create a solid career within your organization.
- Create a mission/vision statement with your team. Even if you are a smaller team within a larger organization, you and your team can still create such a statement. It will get individual team members engaged in thinking about the organization’s goals, the team’s purpose, and their own role.
- Ask each employee to create a three-year career plan (i.e., the experiences, skills and position they would like to gain within the next three years).
- Bonus: Create a sense of community with your employees. Take them out of the office for lunch/bowling/happy hour/whatever works and get them conversing with you and each other outside of work.
If your goal is to be a great leader, then your goal really is to help your team be/become the best they can be. When they are at their best, they can serve you best.
Getting “them” to care about what they are doing has everything to do with helping young professionals gain clarity concerning their talents and assisting them in finding positions that best fit their goals and strengths.
If an employee is not the best person for your team, help that person find the right team-he or she might well be the one who sends you the next, best person to fill the position just vacated. Who knows, perhaps that person will even be the one who helps you get your next promotion. You never know!
Offered with respect,
Misti Burmeister, Founder/CEO, Inspirion Inc