I am in the process of providing career coaching to ten leaders inside a mid-size service organization. These leaders are all part of the same department. I have met with each person one-on-one and several of these folks have been with the company a long time , as in 10+ years.
Whenever I hear that people have been with an organization that long, I always ask, “What makes you stay?” In this organization, for this team of people, the answer has been consistently the same: “My leader”. I then asked, “What about him makes you so loyal and want to stay?” And, again, the answer was consistently the same: “He is not a micromanager. He lets me run my own department as I see fit yet will provide guidance when I need it. He trusts me to make the right decisions. He challenges me. He seeks out and respects my opinion. He gives me opportunities to grow.”
This individual is obviously a well-respected leader in his organization and to this team. He’s been leading this particular department for many years and, I would say, is displaying the leadership characteristics that transcend cultures and departments and industries. Trusting, respected and respectful, challenging, seeking out of opinions, non-micromanaging. These are the traits that good leaders have and portray to their teams.
As many of us know, leaders are the number one reason people leave organizations; therefore, it also makes sense that they are a huge reason people stay. I challenged each one of the people I am coaching to ask their own teams what makes them stay and to find out if they, in their leadership roles, are portraying the same characteristics that they see in their leader, which is obviously having a big impact on department retention. I would challenge all leaders reading this to do the same thing. Think about what makes you stay (or leave) an organization and then find out what makes your employees stay. Regardless of what you find out, it is sure to be enlightening (and hopefully useful) information.