In my last blog, “Employee Retention through Motivational Leadership”, I wrote about how leaders often unintentionally demotivate people and cause attrition through their behavior. This blog will focus on what leaders can do today to create employee retention, engage their team, and motivate their people.
Here are 5 basics for employee retention through motivational leadership behavior:
- Be Positive. In his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie’s first principle is “Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.” He wrote this because no one is motivated by negativity, cynicism, or sarcasm. Today, many leaders walk around telling people what they did wrong or need to fix without ever acknowledging what people did well. This bad habit is common in many organizations. To create a positive atmosphere, leaders should make an intentional effort to give positive recognition and appreciation to every member of their team daily. These positive affirmations will help employees feel valued, and employees who feel valued are less likely to quit their jobs.
- Be Courteous. This is a principle that is common sense but not common practice. It was a hard lesson for me to learn when I first became a manager as a teenager. I thought it was my job to tell everyone what to do, but I discovered it is not what you tell them to do, but how you tell them to do it that is important. I had a heart-to-heart with one of my employees that told me the team was upset that I never said the words “Please” when asking them to do something, and “Thank You” when they did. Common courtesy also includes greeting your team with a smile when they come in or saying goodbye at the end of the day. When you don’t use these common courtesies that show people you care about them, you can undermine their motivation. With a lack of motivation, employees can become disengaged and leave the company.
- Be a Good Listener. There is a lot of talk about the importance of creating an “inclusive environment” in business today. The first step in creating an inclusive environment to help retain people is giving them a voice. This also requires leaders to actually listen. If you give employees a voice and don’t bother to listen, they become frustrated and feel that their opinions don’t count. There is a saying that “leaders who fail to listen end up surrounded by people who are unwilling to speak.” If your team does not feel that you listen or care about what they have to say, chances are they are already looking for a new job. Try and listen to understand what your people are telling you. Use active listening techniques to truly understand things from their point of view.
- Be Fair. Most people resent others who play favorites at their expense. It’s no better being the favorite, as it creates resentment from the rest of the team. This deep dislike for favoritism can destroy a team. Being fair means treating everyone the same. From what I wrote above, this means taking the time to recognize everyone, be courteous to everyone, and listen to everyone, but it goes further than that. It means taking an active interest in every person’s success on your team. Be the type of leader that removes obstacles and provides resources for the people on your team to achieve their goals. When you do this, the team will see you as more than just a leader, you will be their advocate, and you will earn increased loyalty.
- Be Present. Leaders who maintain distance from their team and conduct a lot of closed-door meetings can undermine trust and demotivate people to stay with the organization. The saying goes, “people don’t leave the organization, they leave their manager”. People want to work for someone they like and trust, so they want to see and speak with their leaders. When you take the time to “walk the floor” and interact with your team, you create a greater sense that the whole team is “in it together”. This connection is a strong incentive to stay with the organization.
Applying these 5 basic motivational leadership behaviors will help increase employee engagement. This engagement will boost enthusiasm, improve morale, and drive loyalty. All of these factors will help reduce turnover and create a more successful business culture.
Interested in learning more, attend out complimentary webinar on “Retention Strategies for Leaders” on August 25, 2022 at 9 AM.