There is no doubt that the role of a leader in any organisation is critical to its success, but it is also true that the responsibility goes beyond just contributing to the bottom line. Leadership is about empowering others to achieve things they did not think was possible. Through excellent leadership, organisations can build a solid competitive advantage and in turn change the world for good through their products and services. All this is possible only when there exists a healthy organisational culture with a focus on its most valuable asset – People.
Adopting a people-first mindset can do wonders. You can attract the best talent pool, retain your existing ones, help them become a better version of themselves and inspire them to passionately give their collective best. To truly achieve this, these four steps will be a good starting point for any leader.
Take Care Of Your People
As Simon Sinek rightly put “Leaders put people first.” The first step towards building a people-focused culture is to genuinely care about your employees. After all your employees spend most of their days and years working for your organization. Understand that every employee is valuable, right from the newly hired front-line executive to the veteran team leader. You need to be fully invested in their skill and overall development, which will fuel productivity, efficiency and innovation.
Even your internal policies must be aligned and developed by keeping your people in mind and not just for compliance sake. Just take a look at Marriot International – a Fortune 200 company that stays true to its mission of “taking care of our people and they will take care of our customers, and the customers will come back.” This approach shows everyone that they matter and you as a leader is really invested in taking care of them.
Develop First-Time Managers And Team Leaders
Investing and supporting new, front-line managers drives better-performing managers and employee engagement. The impact is even much higher when these individuals are promoted within the organization. Besides, molding behaviour and mindset at an early stage are easier and better than expecting them to change later.
High-potential employees often already act as informal leaders for their teams. You need to provide them with the tools to be effective now so they can seamlessly step into the shoes of leadership formally. Your internal mobility strategy paired with developmental opportunities ensures these front-line managers are set up for success. Some of the indicators of such first-time managers’ impact include improved team functioning, aligned team objectives with strategy, improved customer satisfaction, reduced turnover and increased gross sales volume.
Demonstrate Commitment Towards Their Development
Did you know that the lifespan of a particular hard skill is now less than five years? So, you can imagine an employee who has spent years working will now have to upgrade his capabilities, unlearn in most cases and keep upskilling continually to stay relevant. This highlights the fact that leaders now need to move away from buying talent to building talent internally. There is always going to be a scarcity of skilled resources and you cannot continue to not build that eco-system.
Understand that every employee has that desire to find meaning and purpose in the work they do. They want to learn new skills and stay prepared for the future. They want to see success and fulfillment in the jobs that they are doing. Your leadership needs to provide them with a vision that gets them going and personalized learning so that they can continue their learning journeys.
While many leaders may be adept at their work, but they may not intuitively know how to mentor, develop, and further create leaders out of their team members. Through coaching you can guide your workforce to reach its goals. Leaders need to establish rapport, identify performance gaps, use questioning and patient hearing techniques as part of their coaching efforts. Realizing the value of a workforce is becoming increasingly important, and so is retaining top talent and creating a culture of innovation and growth.