I’d like to suggest a proven approach to being a great leader, and in the process retaining and maximizing your employees, growing your business, and generating fabulous financial results. And it doesn’t matter if your organization is for-profit or non-profit.
The reality of today’s business world is that younger people are leaving jobs they don’t like, abandoning companies that don’t treat them well, and resigning when they have bosses for whom they don’t enjoy working. This has led to real labor shortages and high turnover, both of which are costly to businesses (no matter what their size).
There are numerous consequences for companies when employees don’t stay with them, including:
• The need to be continually training new employees
• The loss of corporate historical knowledge
• Having a demoralized, non-cohesive staff
• The potential for slippage in the quality of products and services
• The significant costs associated with the turnover of personnel
So, how do you keep your employees these days?
It starts with the concept, of which I am a firm believer, that you can succeed better in both life and business by being nice, rather than by being “bossy” or “hard-nosed.” That’s especially true in these times. You don’t have to browbeat, yell, threaten, blame, be egocentric, or do the negative things that many executives do to “get ahead” because you can succeed to an equal or greater degree by being a nice person and treating people as you would want to be treated.
You may look at Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and other successful entrepreneurs and corporate executives, and while every one of those names ran a very successful company—many were innovators, pioneers, and visionaries—it doesn’t mean that they were great leaders or ones that people enjoyed working for. Some were, while some definitely were not.
I was a successful leader for whom people enjoyed working, and who delivered fabulous financial results for the companies I was employed by—from startups to billion-dollar corporations. Over the course of my 60-year business career, I learned how to be a caring, effective leader able to maximize profits and people. And that’s the key: take care of profits and people. Not just one at the expense of the other.
I want to make one thing perfectly clear: maximizing a for-profit company’s bottom line and return on investment is the goal that every organization strives to attain, no matter its size. At the corporate level, officers have a duty to generate the greatest possible company results and have the company perform to the best of its ability, however, those goals and levels of success can be achieved using a myriad of different management and leadership styles.
And in that regard, let me say this plainly and clearly. You can have tremendous business success for your company, by being a nice person who employees like working for and by creating a culture and environment that makes you and everyone in your company want to come to work—and enjoy where they are and what they’re doing.
There are numerous reasons why you should care about the culture of your company and the style of leadership you exhibit.
Source: Rob Hyrons Shutterstock
For one thing, Millennials, and the generations following them tend to stay at jobs for shorter and shorter periods of time. They want to get promoted and are incentivized faster than previous generations. And they want to be in environments and cultures that are pleasant. One way to keep them in your organization and in their jobs longer is to create a company culture and environment that is appealing to them and makes them feel appreciated and happy. Many very successful companies understand that and are creating workplaces that do just that.
Consider this, what environment would you rather work in?
One that’s constantly filled with stress, uncertainty, favoritism, lies, deception, screaming, micromanaging, threats, unhappiness, back-stabbing ladder-climbers, and unyielding pressure, and where you feel more like a cog in a machine than a person on a team.
Both company cultures can achieve superior business results, but the second is much more enjoyable to work in, and one that people will gladly stay in longer.
Be the kind of leader who creates and fosters a caring culture. If you are, you’ll find that not only is your team happier and more productive, but you’ll personally experience those things as well.
Here are the traits of a great leader that I have witnessed. Some may seem contradictory, but if you can be all these things, they will work together to make you someone others will want to be led by.
• Lead by example
• Believe in yourself
• Be consistent
• Be fair
• Be demanding
• Be caring
• Be considerate
• Be driven to succeed
• Be passionate
• Be compassionate
• Communicate clearly, often, and well
• Be a good listener
• Give people credit for what they do
• Acknowledge your people
• Demand, and give, loyalty
You can successfully lead an organization by being a nice person and a caring leader just as easily as you can be a person others don’t like working for.