Are you Engaging Your Team? The Top Reasons People Leave Leaders, Not Organisations
Many of us believe that the primary reason people quit their jobs is because of pay. Not so, according to a Gallup poll of more than one million employed workers. Poor leadership is the number one reason why employees leave and go elsewhere.
One of the biggest challenges Australian businesses currently face is the retention of talent. Intelligent, honest, hard-working people are critical to an organisation’s ongoing success, but now more than ever, good people are hard to hold on to. When a new employee joins a business, they do so with great optimism and because it feels right. When they leave, it’s usually because something, at some point, made it wrong. And if you take the time to review their real reasons for leaving, you will find that it's not "the company" they blame. A "company" is just a legal entity. It’s the leadership.
Seventy percent of the Australian workforce is currently disengaged at work. So where are our business leaders going wrong?
1) Leaders - No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!
If you want to attract and retain the best and brightest, leaders need to embrace their people and take steps to ensure they feel they are the organisation’s most valuable asset. Most leaders know less about their own people than their people know about them. When your employees say to themselves and others, “Where’s the love?” you’ve got a problem. Do you know what they are missing? Do you know what they need to feel engaged and happy? What we feel is influenced by what we truly value, and we are all motivated differently. Take the time to learn more about your people’s wants and needs. Take the time to understand who they are and what drives them. By adjusting your approach accordingly, peak performance will follow.
2.)Leaders – Empower your people.
The traditional hierarchical structure is not the most effective option for businesses these days. Instead, successful companies are moving to a more flexible organisational structure that empowers, allowing employees to make more of their own decisions and avoid the rigidity of traditional models. Employees thrive when they are given a sense of ownership to accomplish their work with fewer approvals and checkpoints, and with a smaller degree of intervention. Challenge them to take on more responsibility, let them set their own key accountabilities and hold them accountable for the results. Equality promotes unity and trust, encouraging your employees to share their honest opinions and ideas. A dictatorial approach is one of the most effective ways to drive an employee out.
3) Leaders – Practice habitual leadership. Be trustworthy and lead by example.
Habitual leadership is ongoing, and it’s all about actions. Trustworthiness does not happen overnight. Leaders earn it over time based on their positive personal attitudes and behaviours towards others. Leaders who are deserving of trust are dependable, reliable, forthright, truthful and ethical. They care for and recognise their people, exhibiting openness and transparency. Employees are drawn to leaders who are genuine and honourable. These managers are valued and admired. Conversely, employees flee when managers are unfair, lie, cheat, offend and deceive. The most effective way to create a dynamic culture (which has a flow on effect of engagement) is to lead by example. It has to start from the top and flow down.
In business, your people are your edge, and for an organisation to accelerate ahead of their competitors, its leaders must advance beyond old-school leadership strategies and ‘knowledge dumping’ training programs – these are no longer sufficient when it comes to employee activation.
Richard Maloney is the Author of “The Minds of Winning Teams – Creating Team Success through Engagement & Culture”. Richard specialises in the development of high performance teams, individuals and organisations. He currently leads a team of engagement specialist coaches as CEO of Engage & Grow. To learn more visit www.engageandgrow.com.au
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.