Emergency Leader

Your team members are resigning.  Your top senior engineers are showing signs of complacencies and you fear that they too are seeking new opportunities.  You don’t know what’s happening and why, but you fear that this is a trend that will continue to deplete your team’s resources and is an infectious to the rest of the team’s moral.  You try to ask your team what’s going on, but no one really gives you any valuable information.  What do you do?  What can you do?

Instant leadership is rare and usually takes form in cinematic blockbusters produced by Hollywood.  True sustainable leadership are developed and takes place over time.  Leaders needs to build rapport with their members and it’s an ongoing effort that takes time and willingness from both sides.  Which means that you can’t expect to be a good leader, have your team share their true thoughts, feelings and opinion with you in times of difficulties, when you haven’t spent the time and effort to be a good leader in the past.   If you haven’t put in the effort and time to be a leader, you don’t have the trust and you don’t have the empathy for your members.

Does that mean that it’s a lost cause and there’s nothing that can be done?  Not necessarily.  In cases like this, there are certain actions that leaders can take to try and mitigate the attrition and regain confidence and leadership.

  1. Employee’s compensations are very important. It’s not about what your members have been compensated currently or in the past.  It’s not about if it’s enough to cover their costs of living.  Being aware of what their expectations on what their compensation should be and what recruiters and competitors maybe offering them to lure them away from you is extremely important.  Addressing this issue will address a big part of the risk being faced.
  2. Employees wants to know that they’re doing something meaningful, having value and have a sense of what the future holds. As a leader, it’s important to make sure you provide a clear vision of where the organization is going, what impact that will have on your members and how they can contribute to achieve the goals together.
  3. In addition to the need to know the direction of the organization, employees place high values and importance in know their own career paths. Providing a clear career path and steps to get there will play a major role in gaining trust and rebuilding empathy.

There are certainly other issues and things that can be addressed in the immediate timeline, however, these are the primary issues that employees want to be taken care of for themselves.  Address these issues will be most impactful and give the greatest chance for short-term success.  But as with true leadership, more time and effort needs to be spent getting closer to learn and be more engaged with your members.  Constant communication and relationship building is absolutely necessary to be a good leader.  Once that empathy and rapport is built, employees will be much more forthcoming to share what’s going on in the future.

Photo by: Peggy Marco

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