This blog is a response to an article on how to recognize someone planning to leave your company. I hated it because it made the person leaving seem like an enemy, and the company to feel like a victim. I believe the opposite to be true. If someone is leaving your company, it first needs to be looked at through a mirror. So my rebuttal was this blog. Instead of 7 identifying factors when someone is going to leave you, how about 7 ways we can own our leadership skills breaking value with steps towards mending. May this bring a smidgen of inspiration. Or at the minimum, a new thought.
1. Your Culture is NOT Defined
If you do not have a defined culture (whose predecessor is a defined Mission Vision Values), then you have a gaping hole for longevity. MONEY is not the only defining factor in partnering in a business. Culture helps us understand whether or not we belong. We all want a clan. (And by the way—your culture doesn’t have to be filled with sunshine and roses, cultures can also be fierce.) Do this: create a mantra that embodies your mission vision and values. Then, brand it like crazy everywhere, reward it, and act like it. There is something catchy about a mantra that will help boost culture.
2. You Are a LID to Their Business
How are you growing? If your people are growing faster in areas that you have no experience, then you better be investing in your own growth. Otherwise, why should they stay? One of the most substantial line items in our office is coaching. We pay for every one of our leaders to have a coach. The person that grows outside of your expertise will leave because you use them as a crutch to influence others. In other words: because you didn’t grow, you take their ideas and practices and give them away to others (usually as your idea). No one wants to be your crutch. Do this: find three people who have the success level you DESIRE…one who is local doing what you are doing, one who is national with a presence online, and lastly one who has written a book. Meet with the local one WITH A LIST OF QUESTIONS TO ASK, follow the material of the national one (blogs, social media, web, etc…) & consume the material, and be a student of the one with a book (i.e. study the book). AND most of all implement what you learn INTO your business and THEIRS.
3. The Leaders You Influence DON’T Grow
I didn’t realize how big this was until I watched it implode offices. If you are the leader, then you create leaders, not followers. The people you are vital in influencing through leadership: they better be growing. Your people are watching. If you can’t elevate your circle—that’s a telltale sign you can’t do it for the people in your charge. Do this: drop any scarcity mindset. Do not be afraid of lifting and elevating people into a space that gives them leverage and power. There can be no fear as you create value that has the potential to replace you.
4. You Only Celebrate the Money People Bring to Your Company
We are all guilty here. But if it’s a norm for you, it’s going to be a challenge. If your awards and recognitions are about production—that’s about you not them. If it is about them phasing into a new split percentage or cap—that’s about you not about them. If 90% of your recognition is in these two spaces: the perception is that you only care to celebrate them when they make you money. When is the last time you partnered with them for a charity they love? When is the last time you celebrated them living out culture? When is the last time you celebrated a family win with them? When is the last time you thanked them for smiling? When is the last time you complimented them in ANY way? When is the last time you showed care? When is the last time you actually gave them your most valued resource: your time? Do this: make it a quest to know your people by name and need. Then it will be easy to recognize ALL of their achievements, not just the ones that benefit the company.
5. You Believe They Work for You (AKA You’re NOT a Servant Leader)
You treat your people as an employee like they are checking a task box. They aren’t checking a task box for you because they like your task box. They are checking your task box because it connects to something much more profound. And you are just a pawn in that process. Well, you’re only a pawn if you treat them like an employee. If you know what their personal Mission Vision and Values are, then you know how to get them what they want. If you know how to get them what they want you know how to serve their needs in YOUR business. This means they grow to get what they want, you’re the Chess-master not a pawn, and they are willing to do the task because you believe in them (not their job). Do this: reevaluate how you do reviews. Lead with mission vision and values. Understand the individual’s MVV. Then you know two things: 1. How can I get them what they desire? 2. Can their MVV fit within the umbrella of my organization? The answer to each question will drive you in the direction of servant leadership.
6. You Have NO Clue What Their Needs Are
Because you never asked or your skills as a coach are lacking. Ask more questions. Stop telling people what to do. Find out what their strengths are, what makes them come alive. They have to be successful in their own strengths not your unvetted opinion. The business plans in our office are like fingerprints. Not a single one is alike, yet we have seen incredible results from our people. Every conversation I have as the leader starts with mission vision values, needs analysis, and ends with actionable items for the both of us. Yes you have homework as a leader when a conversation ends. Do this: set meetings to have a true needs analysis, ask questions, let them answer, repeat 😉 Let the silence do the heavy lifting and let them talk. Ask defining questions after they answer. (i.e. what do you mean when you say ____, what does that mean to you, could you give me an example)
7. You Only See Through The Lens of Transaction
This is actually the reason most are leaving you. You aren’t in relationship with your people. You are in transaction. I can easily leave a transaction relationship for a better transaction. I want to be part of a story, not your powerpoint (and probably a shitty powerpoint). Do this: care. We all have to run businesses. But do you actually care about the people? Do you want relationships to matter? How can you show you care? (There are a few ways in the section above if you need a new starting point.)