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Are You A Good Leader People Want To Work For?

Are You A Good Leader People Want To Work For?

Being a leader is challenging at the best of times, let alone being a good leader.


On top of your day to day tasks that might involve the company’s finances, HR resources and managing a remote team, you will also need to ensure that you are a good mentor. We’ve all been in that position where we have had a terrible leader and considered leaving the company due to a lack of recognition or prospect. Well now is your chance to learn how to be a great leader, so you have a positive and happy team. A leader, much like a coach, should have their team members' best interests in mind while encouraging improvement and training talent.

Do you remember the first time a team member told you they were resigning?

I remember our team meeting finished and she asked for a few moments of my time. She announced she had a new job, and I was shocked. Nothing I asked or said changed her mind. Watching her walk out of my office, I realized I had failed her and myself.

Though surprised and hurt at the time, I have since spent many years working on my leadership skills to avoid this from occurring in the future. Based on self reflection and what I’ve learned, I’ve identified four key ways leaders can create an organization that people want to be a part of.

The best leaders should have ‘stay’ conversations, this is an emerging term in management. It is, much like its sounds, a chance for someone to share what would motivate them to stay at the company. It’s a conversation about what an employee wants and needs from an organization and leader.

I recommend having this conversation in the first week on the job to help start building a relationship. It can also play a role in professional development and team members satisfaction when repeated on a semi-regular basis, such as midyear reviews or during one of your bi-weekly update meetings.

The leader guides the conversation by asking specific open-ended questions designed to promote open communication, foster shared understanding, and build trust. The answers will reveal how to retain your valued team member, starting from day one on the job.


Examples of questions include:

Why do you do this job?

What do you aspire to?

How do you like to be recognized?

What are the strengths/weaknesses of the department?

What difficult questions do you have for me?


Through these conversations, You can learn what motivates team members, the career ambitions they may not have said out loud yet, and how you can improve the organization.


The best leaders provide opportunities for growth.

These conversations are vital; however, they’re only the first step. You have to then provide the training and chances for your team members to develop and achieve their goals.

This may include informational meetings with leaders in other departments, formal mentoring, leadership development classes, or professional conferences. It could mean creating or re-envisioning a project that will support the organizational goals and align with the individual’s strengths. It can also be as simple as a dedicated time outside of an update meeting where they can ask you questions about handling different work situations.

Not every one of your team members will know what they want to do next or what skills they need to acquire. Work together with your team to identify areas for growth and provide engaging projects.


The best leaders maintain high standards.

As leaders, it’s important to set high standards as well as to be prepared to help your team meet and exceed them. Tell your team members that you have their back and you believe in them. If you expect a lot of others and coach them, you will motivate them to achieve what they previously didn’t think was possible. This is where the magic happens.

Don’t be afraid to challenge your team members. Do make sure they have the skills and environment they need to be successful.

I learned the hard way that I need to specifically tell team members I want them to be their best selves, not to try to be me. Remember, “high standards” should not be code for “do it my way.” Rather, it’s about your team members developing their unique skills to build the efforts of the team and the organization.


The best leaders champion their team members

Leaders should focus on developing high potential team members by helping them be the best versions of themselves and leveraging their skills, without retention being the focus. I think by supporting and challenging team members, you will retain them even longer, even though that isn’t the primary goal.

Even with this in mind, at some point, your team members may outgrow your team, no matter how much effort you both put into making their role valuable. At that time, it should not be a surprise when they say they plan to leave. Great leaders understand this and don’t try to hang onto people or hold them back.


I have passing thoughts about the team member who resigned unexpectedly all those years ago. I wish her success and happiness wherever she is. What I have learned since then helps me stay focused on my role as a leader and teach others what I have learned along the way. As I have continued to learn and grow as a leader, I have seen the effects of supporting team members’ ambitions.


We never know what doors will open and when we will cross paths again. We should treat team members with the same kindness and support as we did when they entered our organization.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

When a great employee leaves, it's definitely time for an internal and external check-in. Self-evaluation is important for the best leaders. Where did I fall short in supporting this great employee? What can I do better next time? These stay questions are a perfect starting point for the external evaluation. Love this topic, Bobbie!

  Stephanie Oehler

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