Leadership Development is a Priority for Great Leaders
The most stressful time for a leader is when things go wrong. And it is inevitable that something will go wrong.
That’s why the great leader knows that he needs to become more to add more value. And he knows that all his other leaders need to become more as well.
Sometimes those, the decision to develop the leader in us and the leaders around us comes too late.
Here are the first five signs that you urgently need to invest in leadership development.
Your HR Office is a Revolving Door
How do you know that you have a retention problem? The generally accepted benchmark is a turnover rate of 10%. Even if you give a variable of about 5% based on industry, it’s safe to say that if you have a turnover rate of 25% you have a problem.
If you have a turnover rate above that, you have a revolving door. It is costing you tons of money in direct costs and productivity.
To say that high turnover is just a consequence of your industry or part of the cost of doing business is not only wrong, it’s bad business.
Why People Leave
You have probably heard the cliche that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. You know why something becomes cliche? Because it has a strong factual basis.
It is probably more accurate to say that effective leadership has a very high influence on employee retention. It’s not the only factor by far. So really making the statement that people quit bosses is a gross generalization.
However, it’s not a generalization to say that leadership not only directly influences retention but also indirectly influences it. If you clicked the link above you discovered that other factors impacting employee retention include
- learning and development
- feedback and recognition
Every single one of those factors, including the ones I didn’t list, are leadership influenced.
So if we draw the lines, when there is high turnover it is almost always due to one of those factors. All of them are primarily influenced by leadership. So if you have a revolving door in HR, you have a leadership problem.
Customer Satisfaction is Suffering
Let me throw a couple of numbers at you.
First, consider 70%. That’s the percentage of customers lost due to a perception of poor service. Not price, not location. Quality of service.
Who provides that service to your customers? Most likely it’s your employees. Their attitude and behavior directly impact the customer. It’s kind of like the old country saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!“
Employee engagement directly drives customer satisfaction. In fact, a Gallup Survey showed that companies with high employee engagement experienced 10% higher customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction directly drives financial performance. For example, research reveals that 80% of U.S. consumers will actually pay more for a superior customer experience.
So we see a link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction and financial performance. What impacts employee engagement?
Employees Just Don’t Seem to Get It
As a leader you have a vision of how you want to see your organization move forward. How things work. Maybe even things working without you having to be there every minute. Without your fingers in every pie.
You hired what you thought were good people, yet they just aren’t getting the work done. And when they are, it usually is not the way you would have liked it to be done. What’s wrong with them? Do they not get it? Are they lazy? Or do they just not care?
The latter seems to be the opinion of many managers who have experienced this. They may blame it on culture or generation. “It’s these Millenials! So self-focused!“
Yet based on census results and research from the Pew Research Center, it’s just not so. There are myriad of reasons why employees may not be getting the job done. Almost all of them start with the leader.
Departments or Team Members Aren’t Communicating
Have you heard anyone in your organization complain that the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing?
Breakdown’s in communication happen most frequently in the midst of conflict.
Fear triggers guarding of information. Unmet expectations never expressed. Poor listening skills. Confusion. Insecurity either for the future of the organization or for their own job.
It’s up to the leader to spur the change. Communication begins from the top.
And before you say, “but I’m a great communicator!” you need to know that we all have something more to learn about it. This is my calling and I still have a lot to learn.
A General Air of Discontent
You can feel it. It’s a very palpable climate in the office. A heaviness. People are silent. Something is very wrong.
Productivity is down. But sarcasm, cynicism, and complaining are up. Perhaps even open hostility.
These are strong signs of low morale. It requires quick, decisive action from a knowledgeable and experienced leader. The wrong choices here may simply accelerate the downward spiral into total office dysfunction.
Without knowing how to identify the issues and address them, it may continue until it is no longer fixable. Everyone loses. The organization, the employee, and YOU the leader.
As I said at the beginning, if you see any of these signs you are overdue to act. But that doesn’t mean that all is lost.
Next week we will look at five more signs that you need to invest in leadership development. We’ll also talk about some next steps.