High staff turnover is perhaps the most obvious symptom of disengaged employees. But what is the cause, and how do we solve it?
Our role as 'the boss' has three components; the first is command, which is exercising the power given to our position. Organisation's need this...someone has to be ultimately responsible for the team, provide strategic direction, and to make the tough decisions when necessary.
The second is management. Resourcing our team, setting objectives and timelines, and monitoring progress are all part of management. The Australian Defence Force calls this component the 'science' of a leader's role.
Lastly, we have what is confusingly called 'leadership'. Perhaps the most misunderstood of the three components, leadership is the 'art' of positively influencing our team to perform a given task. There is much involved in leadership, but very little of this critical component is taught in traditional management courses.
Of these three parts of our role, the leadership component is most critical to staff engagement. You can be a master at exercising the power given to your position, you can provide all the time and resources your team need, but if you don't lead them, they will never commit to your organisation.
So how do we use 'leadership' to solve our staff retention issues? Well, as seen in the video, we can make a good start by 'sitting on the rowing bench' with our team. We have to understand our staff, and get to know them as people, not employees. We have to make them feel our workplace is safe, connect their core work to a higher purpose, and give them hope of a positive future.
It's understandable that this critical role is poorly understood; true leadership techniques are rarely taught outside of the military. But, with focused training, your organisation can have exceptional leaders who create motivated, committed and engaged employees.