Employees continue to resign at a record pace but the quit rate as of June ’22 was 2.9%, somewhat lower than the Nov. ’21 peak of the Great Resignation. The quit rate and the swap rate have a correlation of nearly 100%.
The BEST BOSS EVER Newsletter exposes ideas, mindsets, and behaviors extraordinary leaders use to win hearts and minds. Lead yourself, others, and teams more effectively.
Last Month’s 3 Key Points
1. Great Leaders Drive Results Through Their Teams. It’s convenient to think great leaders do all the ‘soft’ things well: inspire & motivate, communicate, build relationships, trust, respect, learn, collaborate, etc. but without the ability to consistently drive results, the leader is not useful to the business. Extraordinary leaders are accountable and deliver results regardless of the circumstances. AND they utilize the art of leadership to call their teams to greatness. Because they are accountable and behave in a way that demonstrates accountability, their teams are also accountable.
2. Strategic Perspective Trumps Technical/Functional Expertise. If you got promoted to the C-suite or an executive level because you are smart and understand your business technically and functionally, you will one day wake up and realize that is not enough. Being great at knowing the future; what key markets will be doing and how your competition will react, is just as important. Knowing what will happen before it happens and how to create an advantage for your organization elevates you into the upper level of leaders.
Strategic leaders are more needed than ever to ensure teams are aligned with the company’s purpose, mission, and vision. Employees need help to see how their job ties into the organization’s mission and purpose. Communicating the highest priority strategic initiatives must be done repeatedly. Extraordinary leaders learn to be strategic.
3. Employees Want to Be Inspired & Motivated. Duh! How to do this seems to be a mystery to some leaders. One – make great emotional connections with people. Two – be versatile; modify your style to temporarily adapt to others’ style to make them more effective. Three – help your people discover their purpose and align it with the purpose of the business.
This month I want to try something I have never had the courage to do. So, bear with me. This is hard. I read recently that due to the incredible stress in the world from the pandemic, the worldwide economic crisis, supply chain irregularities, wars, and huge natural disasters, etc. “human-centered” or “employee-centric” leadership is more needed than ever. It would be impossible to disagree with that assessment. However, isn’t the basic nature of leadership to be human-centered and employee-centric? This month I want to talk to you about why great leaders lead well – they have worked and worked and worked on themselves. Leading yourself always precedes leading others. If you allow the three great enemies of leadership to live and grow inside of you, you will fail to realize your leadership potential. The three great enemies are Selfishness and an overabundance of Ego & Pride.
Point # 1 – Selfless Leaders
Let me start by saying that I have fallen prey to the temptation of selfishness over and over again throughout my career. It is an incredibly difficult vice to overcome, and when I was the most selfish, it made me a weak leader. Extraordinary leaders are selfless – as Simon Sinek said, they always eat last.
However, eating last and picking up the trash or doing things that no one else wants to do, does not make you a great leader.
Big egos don’t think they need to change. Until you notice that you are thinking and acting selfish, you cannot change your behavior. Step one in changing yourself to become an extraordinary leader is to NOTICE – over and over again. Until you notice your selfish tendencies multiple times a day, you are not self-aware enough to make a change.
I am selfish when… I think about how I can get to the next position more than I am concerned about how my team can get promoted. I worry about how hard I am working more than the work/life balance of my team. I focus on decisions that affect the way that I look. I avoid making decisions that must be made but will be judged negatively. I shy away from telling truth to power because I don’t want the higher ups to think poorly of me. I look for every opportunity to be with the bosses to affirm them and remind them of the remarkable things I have done. The old saying is – ‘there is no Iin team.’
A leader’s responsibility is to do whatever they can for the greater good of others.
- When you don’t cancel their one-on-one meeting because a higher up request something.
- When you don’t complain about having too much to do and genuinely affirm your team for the sacrifices they make.
- When you notice that your team does a lot of ‘crap work’ and you demonstrate empathy.
- When you admit that the report that didn’t turn out great had a lot to do with you / your lack of instructions & guidance had a lot to do with it.
- When you know exactly what your team is struggling with in their personal life – how it feels and what they are trying to do about it.
Too much ego and pride comes across as arrogance. Leading in its most simplistic form is all about people and relationships. People want to be trusted & respected and heard & understood. We want leaders to give us a chance and understand us as imperfect human beings who are trying their best.
“But if pride is about taking the credit, feeling superior, and exploiting your relationships, then pride is a problem. It’s a problem that’s often grounded in low self-esteem and fear, so those are good starting places for the tough work of self-correction.” Lolly Daskal
Point # 2 – The Antidote for Too Much Ego & Pride
“Managing our ego’s craving for fortune, fame, and influence is the prime responsibility of any leader.” Jennifer Woo, CEO and chair of The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, Asia’s largest luxury retailer ”
It may seem paradoxical but when you are at your best, you promote your team more than yourself. It’s not about you! As Jim Collins pointed out in the legendary book, Good to Great, “Level 5” leaders give away all the credit and take all the blame. When you are at your best, you spend less time thinking about your career pathway and more about your people. You will sacrifice going to a meeting and making a great impression so that one of your people can get the exposure. You will set them up for success and help them a great presentation in your absence.
It’s not about you and you know that, but you have to tell others repeatedly about your team performing at a high level. When you push your ego & pride down and elevate others, you demonstrate another key aspect of Level 5 leadership that Collins and his researchers uncovered – HUMILITY! If it’s all about your team’s success, and not about your personal success, people notice and want to follow you.
“Humility and gratitude are cornerstones of selflessness. Make a habit of taking a moment at the end of each day to reflect on all the people that were part of making you successful on that day. This helps you develop a natural sense of humility…” Rasmus Hougaard & Jacqueline Carter
Point # 3 – The Missing Ingredient
LOVE – When we talk about leadership, the word love does not show up often. Why is that?
We sometimes get confused about love as a leadership act. Love seems to be about family or romantic relationships, but it has a much farther-reaching capability than that. Don’t you think your team members deserve your love?
In a recent poll for members in a transformational leadership group, I asked: “is loving employees a leadership action?” I thought it was an easy question, only 74% said yes, 12% said “not sure” and 14% said “no-love is too emotional/soft”.
What is love in leadership? In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he writes: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Could we use the same standards to judge how well we lead others?
Love makes a huge difference. It enables us to lead more effectively. Leader’s love others by being vulnerable and making emotional connections. They work incessantly to help others be the best version of themselves they can become. I strongly urge you to reduce your selfishness, ego, and pride by practicing love!
“Love leadership is not for the faint hearted, there’s nothing soft about love, nothing fluffy. Love is not weak, love is not a doormat, love does not compromise, but love is compassionate, listening and understanding. Love does not sit there with a smile on her face in submission. Love sprints headfirst into action.” Helen Honisett
1. How could I be more aware of my selfish behaviors? When did I recently act selfish?
2. In what circumstances does my enlarged ego get the best of me – why is that?
3. How can I bring an energy of love and acceptance into more of my business relationships?
1. Defy Expectations – Learn to Lead with Love, Integrity, and Trust by Helen Honisett
2. Ego is the Enemy of Good Leadership by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter
3. Can Leadership Development Temper the “Big Quit” by Jack Zenger (Forbes)