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CAREER & MONEY

Surviving the Great Resignation: How to Become a Leader Worth Working For 

Feature image: Cecilie Arcurs

If you’re the kind of person who wants a quick hit of info so you can quickly move on, then the bottom line here is that in order to survive the Great Resignation, you have to become a leader worthy of admiration and also get very good at helping your team members define and use their strengths and talents. And if you’re the kind of person who’d like to figure out how to do that, keep reading. 

Adapt Wherever and Whenever You Can – When It Makes Sense 

The first step is to realize every person on your team has different needs and talents and they all have different ways of finding meaning in their work. Just like the first paragraph of this article, the more ways you can find to adapt to be inclusive and address their needs, when it’s appropriate, the more likely it will be for them to want to stay.   

This could mean delivering information and training in a variety of ways, like written content, as well as live broadcasts, video or audio options, so people can consume it in different ways, or it can mean adjusting work situations and roles, when it becomes necessary and can be done. 

Recently, I had two of my team members come to me because they weren’t feeling fulfilled any longer in their positions. Neither wanted to leave the company and both wanted to see if there might be other possibilities we could explore. For one of them, we were able to adjust the position to make it a better fit and more meaningful for her. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that for the other, and we had to part ways. He had a much higher level of expertise than his position required, and to make a new position for him meant redefining the vision for the company, which couldn’t happen. Happily, he was able to find a position that was perfect for him outside of our company and he has moved on to a new challenge that suits his talents much better.  

We wholeheartedly believe in fulfillment at Kardia. Fulfillment means utilizing people’s skills, developing their strengths, challenging them to grow, helping them find meaning in what they do, and showing them how the experience they’re creating for our clients and in our community matters.  

There’s a lot to unpack in that, and as a leader, you have to be able to do that for yourself and for your team. While you won’t be able to make everyone happy all the time, the more often they see your effort to work with them, the more they will appreciate it and admire it.  

Lean Into the Fact That You Don’t Know It All 

When you have a massive vision and you want to make a great impact in the world, there’s absolutely no way you can do it on your own or know everything that you need to know to reach your end goal. Embrace the fact that you don’t know it all, because the next steps you take after that will put you on the right track a lot faster.  

The greatest leaders in the world know exactly where they shine, and they double down there, with their time, effort and education. They streamline their focus to become world class in their particular area of genius and then they find the right people to do everything else. From there, it’s a matter of helping them feel fulfilled in their role and challenging them to bring their best.  

This is why your own personal growth is so important. Only the transformed can transform. In other words, if you haven’t figured out what is meaningful for you and what makes you fulfilled in your role as a leader, you won’t be able to show them how to do it either.   

Learning new things, becoming curious, and expanding your knowledge base are key to growth and innovation, for yourself, your team and your company. Developing those qualities in your team and giving them ways to explore new things, become curious and expand their knowledge base will keep them interested and excited about what they’re doing. When they’re engaged and expanding their growth like that, they’ll want to stay because it feels good to be where they are.  

That’s why it’s good business practice to take an in-depth look at your company on a regular basis and figure out what needs to be improved. Then get your team to help you solve the problem, because they have great insight to share, and you don’t know it all. 

For my executive team, we do that once every quarter. We evaluate what’s not working, what’s missing and/or what needs to change to be more effective, and then we solve that problem together.  Not only does that keep our company from becoming stagnant, but also it helps them see we can make effective changes when we work together, that as a company we are willing to make those changes, and most importantly, that their opinions and ideas matter. That’s a winning and very powerful combination that will make a difference for you and for them. 

Give Your Team the Appreciation and Respect They Deserve 

There’s very little in business that upsets me, but seeing people treated like “workers” and not as valuable human beings is one thing that does. Every single person on the planet has value. They matter. They all have something to add, and they all have areas of genius. All that’s really needed is to cultivate their genius, so they can use their talents in the best possible way and to their fullest extent.  

Your job as a leader is to make sure that cultivation is part of your daily practice. That means getting to know your team members, learning what they do well and finding out where they want to grow, then doing your best to make that happen. Your team won’t thrive if the only feedback or interaction they ever get from you is what’s going wrong. That’s going to have them looking for a job elsewhere in a hurry. 

People deserve to be appreciated for everything they do, whether that’s mopping the floors or bringing in a million dollars from a single sale. Every position in your company is there because it serves a function that’s necessary for your business to operate properly, and each one deserves recognition and respect.  

Your people have invested in you and your vision by agreeing to work for you. That alone is worthy of praise, and at the very least, it’s certainly worth the investment of your personal time to say thank you.  

Clarify and Communicate Your Vision 

As humans, we feel happier when we’re making progress toward a goal and when we can see how our actions and efforts contribute to getting there. If your team members don’t understand your bigger vision and how their position fits into it, they’ll have no idea whether or not they’re making a difference and moving the company toward that goal.  

We all want to know that our efforts matter. To help your people see that, you have to know, very clearly, where you’re going as a company, what your immediate goals and objectives are, and then you must be able to communicate them, so that everyone on your team understands their part in making it happen.  

On top of that, you also have to express why what you do matters for your clients, the company and for your team, so everyone knows the reasons for what you do and how it makes life better. We feel so much better about ourselves when we know we are contributing on a bigger level and that we are a part of something greater. It’s your job to help your team understand what that greater thing is, because if they have no idea why and how their efforts actually matter, they’re going to go somewhere else where they know they can make a difference.  

Hold Yourself to the Highest Degree of Integrity 

As a leader, all eyes are on you. Whether you realize it or not, your people are watching and evaluating everything you say and do. If you’re saying one thing but doing another, that’s going to erode trust in a hurry. 

Instead, you want to be the person they admire and are proud to say they work for. That means doing the right thing because it’s the right thing – even when things aren’t going well. The true indicator of a brand’s strength, both personal and professional, is what happens when the brand is under stress. It’s easy to do the right thing when things are going well, but it’s a true testament of character when you do the right thing when it’s the hardest decision you have to make.  

When you act with the highest degree of integrity, people appreciate it, respect it and admire it. And that kind of person is someone worth working for. 

A Final Word on Becoming a Worthy Leader 

It will never be one and done in your journey as a leader. Just like your company, you must grow with the times, changes, and challenges you face. It’s a continual evolution. Your ability to personally stay agile and adapt to whatever comes your way all hinges on your ability to admit when you don’t have the answer, find the people who do, and then empower them to take their knowledge and put it to work for you. Respect them for it. Show them your appreciation, often. And above all, hold yourself to the highest standards and live by them daily. What you’ll find when you’re in that place, leading by example, is that you have a happy and highly productive team, and the thought of resigning will be the furthest thing from their mind.   

About the author

Christan Hiscock
CEO & co-founder at Kardia | Website | + posts
Christan Hiscock is on a personal mission to change the conversation in the business world, moving away from the pursuit of success, to focusing on fulfillment instead. Because if you're fulfilled, success is a given, but not so much the other way around. He can often be heard saying, "You mean more than you know," because he believes that as people learn to understand their worth, their fears fade and amazing feats become reality. He considers this the foundation for all his achievements as the Co-Founder and CEO of Kardia and leader of 14 thriving companies. Through Kardia, which means heart in Greek, Christan is determined to bring more heart into the business world. Heart in the form of kindness, compassion and altruism. Heart that fuels, roots and guides each company to do the right things for its team members, clients and for the greater communities they serve.

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