When was the last time you took a pause to gain some perspective?
Some leaders may not see the value in this – certainly I would not have when I got my first leadership position! But still, so many say that all important things in life are improved with perspective… that we might be happier and improve our lives if we remain grateful and focus on the positive.
It sounds a little chichéd, but it is the difference between “I wish I had more money” and “I may not be a billionaire, but I make enough to house and feed myself and my family.” Perspective allows us to reach for a new level of results without allowing our contentment to rely upon it.
What does any of this have to do with organizational leadership?
Well, perspective is powerful not just for personal matters, but for professional results, too. Anything can be impacted by a shift in perspective.
Take, for example, your rate of retention. The word itself, “retention,” carries such a negative weight with it – it is almost like leaders are trying to keep their people captive in their roles, when in reality, retention is a metric of how many people choose to stay with the organization over time.
Of course, it goes beyond just a word. But the fact remains that leaders have a lot of worry over if our top performers are going to leave – losing our organizations opportunities, onboarding costs, and most importantly, an invaluable relationship.
Believe it or not, this, too, you can help with perspective.
1. Let go of the fear that people will leave.
It goes without saying that people are complex emotional beings. How we think affects how we feel, and how we feel impacts how we act.
Working from fear causes desperate actions and denial. Working from love keeps one question at the back of our minds – “How can I make this better?” – and inspires us to improve.
When we are afraid that our team members may leave, we may blind ourselves to important questions or crucial conversations that need to take place – questions and conversations that might prevent them leaving in the first place.
But when we are more focused on creating an atmosphere of encouragement and inclusion, we seek out our team’s insights and ideas and give them even more reasons to stay.
2. Look for reasons that your team members have to stay rather than reasons they have to leave.
Marcus Buckingham, author and researcher, says that leading means checking in with our teams weekly and understanding how they’ve been doing – from their perspective. There are questions we can ask them to help them analyze their recent past in the workplace and anticipate their near future:
- What did they love about last week?
- What did they learn last week?
- What will they be working on next week?
- How can you help?
It may seem like a tall order to check in with each team member each week – but what if that is not the best use of your time each week as a leader, what is?
3. Focus on those who stay rather than convincing those who leave to change their minds.
Are you the kind of leader to “chase down” a team member who has decided to leave your organization?
It is true that to a certain extent, it is human nature to “want what we can’t have.” But if someone has decided to move on, they have their reasons. At that point, we are not retaining them – we are detaining them.
Perspective shifts our focus from the loss to the value of their insight into how to improve the organization, and uses their feedback constructively to make the workplace better for those who choose to stay.
What will you gain when you shift your perspective? Let me know what revelations you have this week!
That’s all for now,
P.S. Are you looking for other retention strategies? Well, I have good news and bad news for you – the good news is that I will have more for you! The bad news is that I can’t fit them all into one email… but you can find them here, for free 🙂
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Voluntary turnover it’s an ALARMINGLY preventable problem.
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