Every leader should feel a great sense of responsibility to the people that are contributing to an organization’s vision, mission, and overall success. However, there are 2 fundamental responsibilities of a leader that cannot be overlooked or under estimated:
1) Build their resume – helping your team build a solid resume under your leadership should be your first goal. We live in a “migrant work” world where we often need to collect experiences from a range of sources to make ourselves marketable. While today’s leaders have shifted this accountability onto their teams the pendulum has gone too far. People are often told that they need to take ownership of their career and look after themselves because organizations and leaders are not doing that anymore. While this is true, a leader’s responsibility is to coach, mentor, and guide their team and understand their career goals & objectives. A leader’s responsibility is to understand their team’s career direction and help them build the necessary experiences and skill sets for their next move, even if it may lead outside the organization. A team member’s big career picture should always be front & center in the leader’s mind. When was the last time a leader asked you how they can help fill the gaps in your resume? A leader has to ask “what can we do today to enhance your resume” – there’s no better compliment than to develop your team to the point where they are highly sought after by other leaders or organizations.
2) Earn the next day. Now your responsibility is to ensure they are not tempted to leave when they are highly sought after. Every leader needs to earn their team’s loyalty every day. Now the real work begins – what are you doing to ensure that they want to stay with you/organization? How are they treated? How are they trusted? How do you make them feel every time they leave your office – big or small, empowered or weak, challenged or overworked, accountable or victimized? How are they appreciated and valued for the work that they do every day?
If you are fulfilling the first responsibility on a consistent basis then you have an engaged team on your hands. If you are fulfilling the second responsibility, then you have a satisfied team who is less likely to look elsewhere for their happiness. Once leaders recognize that these are the 2 most fundamental responsibilities of a leader, among others, everything else is considered “logistics.” The key starting point is to change the conversation with your team and spend less time asking “what you’re up to” and more time to asking thought-provoking questions about their skills, career interests, challenges and experiences