You probably find yourself frequently wishing you had the resources and ability to just snap your fingers and, magically, dozens of high qualified resumes would be streaming across your desk for that big key leadership position you’ve been meaning to fill. And of course, all those ridiculously qualified candidates would be fantastic culture and value fits, on top of the exact expertise you’re looking to fill. From there, you’d get to take your pick for the best candidate.
Unfortunately, you know that isn’t reality, especially if you’re in an area of the country like the Midwest where bringing in the horsepower and ability you need isn’t the easiest task to undertake. Whether it’s a battle of resources and you can’t afford to hire a company to do the search for you, or you just plain struggle to draw high quality candidates to where your business is located, it is an extreme challenge for your business and holds you back from really stepping things up a notch.
This brings forth an extremely important question for organizations looking to fill those crucial management and leadership positions that are challenged with bringing in key talent?
How can you move from talent management to more of a growth management personnel model?
I personally see it all the time in businesses that I come into and work with. They organically elevate unqualified people throughout the organization into leadership positions because of lack of options. Along the way in that journey, ownership has failed to provide the necessary resources, training and tools to groom lower level managers and even new employees to take that next step. They fail to have those growth trajectory conversations from day one to truly sift out employee desires and goals. Sometimes they’ll even move employees up into positions they have no desire to be in. That’s definitely the easiest way to set someone up for failure and to drive them out of your organization.
So, what are some simple items you can start implementing within your own organization if you seem to have some of those talent management challenges?
Talk Growth Plans – Communicate from day one with your employees, and even within the interview process before potentially bringing them on, what their professional and career goals look like in their mind. This will give you a much better idea of what kind of fit they will be not just in the short-term, but further down the road for your organization.
Provide the Resources and Tools – Once you know what an employee’s professional goals are, immediately begin helping them move toward them by providing them with what they need to start on that journey. What trainings can you provide? Can you match them up with a great mentor or supervisor within your company to learn from?
Breed a Culture of Transparency – Every day you’re focusing on what your clients or customers are thinking in order to effectively market to them to buy your product or service. They’re constantly wondering what’s in it for me, and you’re trying to market to it. Don’t forget that your employees are also always wondering the same question and where they fit into the overall machine that your organization is. Prioritize transparency within your business and with your employees so that they feel heard, respected and listened to. Don’t be afraid to swallow your pride, take some criticism and listen o your people. It’s what makes truly great leaders.
Have Frequent Career Conversations – Take the time each quarter to talk with your people about where they’re at on their professional journey, what they need help with and what’s going on in their head. It’s not only going to give you great information, but it truly shows you care about them, their goals and progression. Don’t forget also to increase that team health by talking about personal goals as well.
Motivate & Inspire – Many leaders can motivate, but very few truly inspire. Motivation is the equivalent of lighting a fire under somebody. Unfortunately, if that fire isn’t keep burning extrinsically by another, it will eventually flame out. Inspiration, however, is truly lighting a spark within your employees by connecting with them on a personal level, knowing what makes them tick and helping them develop intrinsic motivation that will forever burn.
Help Them Find Their Purpose – Finding one’s true purpose is never an easy task, especially for your younger and inexperienced professionals. Help them find their purpose by emphasizing the big why behind your organization and for yourself personally. Your business isn’t just about a service or product. It goes much deeper than that. By helping them understand the purpose, you’re assisting them in digging deeper to find their own.
Create a Culture of Psychological Safety – Employees have to feel completely comfortable, loved, cared about, listened to and know they’re able to take risks, fail and challenge the status quo. Once you reach that level within your business you’ll quickly find the level of motivation, inspiration and creativity drastically increase.
Don’t Just Manage and Lead – Coach! – Being a great leader isn’t just about checking boxes, holding others accountable and making sure a job gets done. It’s even more than inspiring, motivating and authentically guiding and mentoring. It’s about coaching. If you look back at the history of the word coach, it comes from the word stagecoach, in which its purpose was to take people from one place to another. Your job is to develop people into leaders. If you can scale yourself, the ceiling on your business is unlimited.
Know How Your People – At the end of the day, in order to build the highest functioning and performing team possible, everything comes down to personal, emotional connection and trust. Know your people and what’s important to them. Know how they like to be coached and managed. Know how they handle conflict and situations and how they’re deep-down hard-wired. Spend enough time with them to build that trust.
Empower Them – Believe it or not, people crave structure, challenges and getting pushed. Give them exactly that, as well as your trust and the green light to fail in pursuit of greatness. If you have employees that have an issue with being held accountable and pushed, they’re probably not a fit for your organization. Treat them like champions, feed them what they need to be champions and set the expectation that they will be champions…and they will become champions.
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