10 keys to retaining your high performers

Tackling the talent shortage head-on requires a fresh roadmap for leaders. Let’s discuss the first of several secrets to solving the short-term crunch and providing a long-term talent solution.

The first step is to retain existing high performers. Identifying gems within your existing organization and keeping them engaged while you build your team around them is a crucial first step. Loyalty is the game’s name, and strategies to inspire genuine commitment result in stability.

How? Start with a primary data point: Who are they? Identify your existing high performers. Surprisingly, this is often not easy, as high performance is task-specific. Client-facing people possess different knowledge, skills and abilities than internal support people. A high-performing receptionist will consist of a different profile mix than a high-performing purchasing agent or a high-performing patient care assistant, and so on.

Key point: High performers hold high standards for those they follow. Leadership skills are crucial to keeping the good ones. Therefore, here is a “top 10” list of leadership basics from my two favorite gurus, Peter Drucker and Pat Lencioni.

To keep high performers, you should:

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1. Embrace self-awareness. Peter Drucker famously said, “Know thyself.” This timeless advice underscores the importance of self-awareness in leadership. Be introspective to understand your strengths, weaknesses, values and motivations.

2. Prioritize people. People are at the heart of every organization. Pat Lencioni emphasizes the significance of building cohesive teams. Cultivate meaningful relationships with your team members. Understand their aspirations, challenges and potential.

3. Communicate effectively. Communication is the cornerstone of effective leadership. Drucker stressed the need for clear and concise communication. Practice active listening to genuinely understand the perspectives of others. Tailor your communication style to resonate with diverse audiences, inspiring clarity and alignment.

4. Lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. Lencioni emphasizes the importance of leading by example. Model the behaviors and values you wish to see in your team. Demonstrate integrity, accountability and resilience.

5. Embrace continuous learning. The pursuit of knowledge is never-ending. Drucker believed in the power of lifelong learning. Stay curious and open-minded, seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth. Embrace feedback as a gift and leverage it to continually refine your leadership skills.

6. Foster innovation and adaptability. Drucker emphasized the need for innovation and adaptation. Encourage a culture of innovation where creativity and experimentation are celebrated. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth, guiding your team through transition periods with confidence and resilience.

7. Cultivate emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a critical asset for effective leadership. Lencioni underscores the importance of empathy and self-awareness. Develop your emotional intelligence by effectively understanding and managing your emotions. Cultivate empathy and compassion, fostering connections and creating a supportive work environment.

8. Set clear goals and expectations. Clarity breeds success. Drucker emphasized the importance of setting clear goals and expectations. Define specific, measurable and achievable goals for yourself and your team. Communicate expectations clearly, providing guidance and support to ensure alignment and accountability.

9. Lead with purpose. Purpose-driven leadership inspires and motivates others to achieve greatness. Lencioni advocates for clarity of purpose and alignment. Define your purpose as a leader, articulating a compelling vision that resonates with your team.

10. Practice humility and servant leadership. True leadership is not about authority, but service. Drucker believed in the power of humility and servant leadership. Serve others selflessly, prioritizing the needs of your team and organization above your own. Lead with humility, acknowledge your limitations and embrace opportunities for growth and collaboration.

Taking this advice, I am sharing a call to arms: This isn’t just about changing how management training is done or rewriting a mission statement; it’s a “back to basics” revolution. Organizations bold enough to embrace a new blueprint will hold the power to redefine their future. When some get it right, the talent shortage can end for them.

My call for action: Ask yourself, are you bold enough to get back to basics and ignite this revolution in your world?