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Guest Commentary: The Glue Of Leadership

In today’s competitive job market, job seekers, in many cases, have their pick of positions and roles. Companies are going above and beyond to attract and retain top talent; some firms are offering special bonuses. This, of course, retains employees in the short-term.

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John Passante is a broad-based senior executive with over 30 years of extensive organizational development and senior human resource experience with progressive corporations involved in multiple locations, both domestic and international.

Given today’s tight employment market, many organizations are having a difficult time recruiting and retaining key employees. I suspect that this situation may get worse! The question to confront and ponder is: Why do your employees stay with you? Is it compensation and benefits? Perhaps!

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However, I subscribe to the fact that employees are loyal to an organization because of their relationship with their leader. Leadership and trusting relationships are the glue that holds the organization together. In today’s competitive job market, job seekers, in many cases, have their pick of positions and roles. Companies are going above and beyond to attract and retain top talent; some firms are offering special bonuses. This, of course, retains employees in the short-term. Simple rewards cannot and do not make up for disrespect of employees, unfair treatment, the lack of trust in the leader and the bully boss.

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Employees do not quit the company; they quit the leader. A leader’s respect, integrity and fairness are key ingredients of leadership – it’s the glue that keeps them there!

Encourage employees to stay the course with the organization. Employees watch the behavior and action of leaders closely. Do the words match the action taken? Leadership glue creates an environment of tangible benefits: improved employee retention, collaboration, better decision-making, positive morale and the reduction of stress. Displaying confidence in employees, by sharing perhaps more than you are comfortable sharing, indicates that you want and need their ideas and input. Glue!

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The glue of leadership involves change! Reinvention has become the basic literacy of the 21st century. Employees view themselves as reinventors, and it is important to engage them in change from day one! Leaders with glue light the fire inside employees and offer a standing invitation to employees to make things better – to explore new things, to push the envelope, to do more! Employees want and need change. Are you ready?

Successful organizations embrace the forces of change, and the associated energy and momentum to catapult change. To retain employees, give them the tools and the fuel to shape the future.

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The true glue of leadership (which helps employees stick with the organization) is like farming; the ultimate form of service to something larger than yourself. It is leading in difficult times and having employees’ backs, and shepherd the future! Remember that employees “can handle” the truth! Please do not try to “spin it!” The truth shall set us free. Foster loyalty and employee partnership! And yes, retention. Articulate that employees have significant roles and places in the vision of the company.

The glue of leadership lives with the values of the company – integrity first and foremost! It also takes a holistic approach to employee retention. Keeping your best and brightest should be a key organizational strategy. And a key performance indicator for all levels of leadership when a valued employee walks out the door, they take their company and industry knowledge with them, as well as their meaningful internal and external relationships.

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Indeed, replacing employees is expensive and time-consuming. When employees are engaged in the business, they stay! In turn, this lengthens their tenure with the company. The glue of leadership creates a strong mutual, professional obligation (commitment) between them and their employees and involve their team in worthy goals, which can be exciting, powerful and intoxicating.

As humans, we are wired for teamwork and seek the opportunity to contribute to the creation of something big. There is a magic that occurs when people work together! Are you the “glue” that inspires, motivates and keeps employees involved in your organization?

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“If we take a man as he is, we make him worse. If we take a man as he should be, we make him capable of what he can be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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