Leadership: What Not to Do to Keep the Best Employees

Good leadership recognizes a good work culture, but even the best can miss signs that might induce excellent employee to leave. As awareness is the key, there are signs to watch for. What might a good leader be overlooking?

1. Failure to Connect Purpose

Workers need to feel relevance. If the day-to-day contributions of workers are not connected to the overall purpose, goal and progress of the mission, they may feel that their efforts are not valued. It is the job of the leaders to put the building blocks together and connect the dots for all employees so that they feel valued and relevant within the higher order of the mission. It is up to the leaders to communicate the relationship of the role of each worker to the whole project in clear and meaningful way.

2. Ignoring Care and Concern for All Careers

The caring leader must demonstrate care and concern for the careers of all his workers. The leaders can give stimulating assignments, provide professional development, and/or one-to-one contact to show their ongoing concern for the workers’ health, progress and future. The employers may assist in career-planning on an individual basis to assist in the employees’ progress. Thus, employees will be less inclined to search for new positions. Every employee needs a strong sense of future.

3. Prioritizing the Institution over Progress

When the corporation shows more interest in the mechanics of process rather than the creative engagement of it workers, the frustration of the individual employees can have them looking for the door. If there is an ‘over-institutionalizing’ of process in the ‘way things are done’, common sense, experience and innovation may be so overlooked that the workers’ initiatives may be dismissed. Not only will this produce process fatigue but also resentment in the team.

4. To Be or Not Be Consistent

Issues may arise in any system that are outside the regular processes when the leaders have to make decisions in individual cases. Workers have to know what to expect in these cases, for uncomfortable decisions by the leaders can lead to dissatisfaction and uncertainty. A leader’s decision may not be agreed to by staff, but if the leader has not made contradictory choices, the workers will still feel stability in their positions. If the leader avoids mood swings and uneven tempers, the workers will feel more secure in their jobs.

5. Creating No-Win Situations

Leaders sharing supervisory capacities must be careful not to send competing messages to employees. Separate agendas at the top can wear down the cooperative spirit and lead to dissention in the ranks. The body of workers, on whom the leadership depends, cannot serve two masters who wish to satisfy personal agendas that don’t fit with each other. The effect will be toxic.

6. Avoidance of Correcting Underperformance

Workers are aware of the performance of their colleagues. An underperformer can hamper the common focus of the work force. The leader must address issues when an employee is not pulling his or her weight, for the leader will not only improve the culture as a whole but will gain the respect of the responsible staff. The underperformer should be given guidance to improve, but if improvement does not occur, more serious steps have to be taken for the good of the whole team. The boss must send the message of concern and caring to all employees alike. Dealing with dead weight goes with a leader’s job.

7. Failure to Recognize Worth

Workers appreciate being appreciated. As one of the most important responsibilities of the leader, taking time to reward a job well done creates a common bond among the entire staff and connects leadership to staff. No one likes to be taken for granted. In the frantic business of everyday work, the few minutes it takes to publically and privately thank and encourage the work of an employee will build a good feeling of trust and support throughout the workplace.

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