If you have been a manager for a couple of months or many years, you know that a seasoned, experienced team makes your work and the results you are responsible for better. There are many positives from retaining a solid team.
So how can you retain your team?
- Develop them. They want to learn, to grow, to develop. Cross-train them as they are able and willing. There are always new skills and processes to learn.
- Thin the herd. If you have an employee (note: I did not write “team member”) who is acting more like a prisoner than someone who is engaged in the process, do what you can to bring them along. But, in the end, if they refuse to participate and continually throw obstacles into the path of your team’s success, then cut them loose. A friend told me a story of when he worked at a major retailer years ago. One of the employees was lazy and constant complainer. One day, the manager approached this employee and said, “It is clear to me and everyone else you really don’t like working here.” The employee agreed. “Well,” the manager went on, “Today, I’m going to make your day. You’re fired.” Your team can become stronger when they see you fire with purpose.
- Model. People will follow effective leaders who show them how to work. If you are viewed as unproductive or take a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, your team’s effectiveness and longevity will suffer. Lead by example. Work as hard or harder than anyone else on your team.
- Cheer. As your team succeeds, become their biggest cheerleader. Tell your supervisor about their accomplishments. Praise them directly via email, notes, personal visits, etc. Encouragement goes a long way to building teams of dedicated people.
- Empower them. Do you have to OK every decision in your department? If so, your team is not learning how to make good decisions. Train them, develop them, share the story behind the numbers – and then give them the ability to make informed decisions. It will make it easier for your customers to do business with you. It will make it easier on you knowing you have a team who can make decisions that are based on what is both good for the customer and the company.
- Trust them. Build an environment of high trust. Make sure you are the type of leader they trust. Trust them to do the right thing.
- Help them move up. We all want our star performers to stay with us forever. But that may not be what they want. Help those who want to move up to do so. Ask them what goals they have for advancement and then be a part of this process. A wise CEO once said, “I have heard that if I develop my team, they’ll just leave. I’d be more worried that if I didn’t develop them, they’d all stay!” Not all will want to leave your department. But I would rather be known as a leader who can produce leaders than a manager who has a nice department.
Team members will want to be on your team if you do these things. They will see their value in the organization because you see their value and you communicate it to them.