Why do so many leaders and organizations lose team members? You spend time training, developing, pouring into, and investing in team members, only to see them leave. Why is this? I believe it’s because of a specific leadership paradigm that we’ve adopted. No matter who you are, or where you lead, chances are that you’ve succumbed to this paradigm without even knowing it.
The paradigm is take, make, use, lose. We take a person; we make them, through some kind of a training; we use them… and guess what happens? You lose them. Isn’t that what’s happening in your organization right now? You wonder, “How do I keep high-level leaders?” The answer is by switching this paradigm.
What’s wrong with take, make, and use? The problem is not what we do, but what we don’t do. We take people where they are, but we don’t engage them. We make them by giving them training, but we don’t process their development. We use them in different capacities by giving them jobs to do. And then we lose them. What can we do to minimize the losses on our teams? Two key things that I want to share with you today.
You’ve got to have a growth plan for each team member, both individually and corporately. If I was on your team, how would you grow me as a human being? How would you grow me as a functional unit in your organization? You grow me as a leader—personally; and you also develop me in the context of your corporation, by engaging me in skills and tasks that are congruent to the objectives and the vision of the organization.”
Don’t just hand over decisions to your people—engage them in the process. They have to have skin in the game. If you’re thinking of an idea, engage them in your thought process—that helps them grow by seeing how you think. It allows them to see the two strategic things that you offer them: what and why. It allows them to understand how you think about something, rather than simply receiving a task from you.
If you develop growth plans for each of your team members, and engage them in the leadership process, they won’t simply feel made and used. They’ll feel that they are part of the integral functioning of your organization. They’ll grow in their own leadership capacity. And that’s your number one objective as a leader—to grow those you’re leading.