5 Ways Top Leaders Retain Top Talent

See also: Leadership Styles

A leader is more than just an occasional visitor to the workplace. They are an ever-present voice, eager to offer guidance when needed.

Whilst it is their job to ensure a business runs efficiently, they don’t have to crack their whip in order to achieve this.

Employees want to feel valued by their superiors, not manipulated by them.

Workplace culture is perhaps the most important consideration a leader must take into account when making paradigm-shifting decisions. Staff won’t appreciate sweeping changes that stunt their creativity or limit their chances of progression.

Highly-skilled workers will be particularly put out by managerial action that closes them out of the loop. In order to retain the very best, you need to be able to manage the very best. In most instances, workers will place company culture ahead of other incentives, such as money and location, which means a consummate leader needs the skills to bring the office together.

1. Don’t Flaunt Your Superiority

No one appreciates narcissism, especially employees with exceptional talent.

If you want these people to respect you as a leader, then you need to show them that you are more than just a corporate poster boy or girl. Whilst it’s no mean feat to have reached the position you’re in, making a big deal of it won’t help you or your employees progress any further.

It can be easy to over-stamp your authority, but remember that you need these workers as much as they need you. At the end of the day, you’re their superior, but that doesn’t necessarily make you their idol. This is a title you need to earn yourself.

A strong leader serves the needs of the many and puts others before themselves. The easier you make a staff member’s working life, the more likely they are to stick around. In the long run, this servility will pay off for everyone, making your job far easier.

2. Show Guts When Making Decisions

A true leader confronts each new problem with the same determination, regardless of what’s at stake.

Being a crowd-pleaser only works if you’re the ringleader at a local circus. In every other workplace, you will be admired for sticking to your morals at every turn. Talented workers will expect their leaders to fight their corner against ill-judged corporate decisions. You don’t have to be a militant all the time, but if you turn your back on your employees too often, they will do the same to you permanently.

Credibility is an admirable trait in a leader and you should always put the needs of your staff and customers above all else.

3. Pay Personal Attention to Individual Employees

Employees crave nothing more than frank and open discussion. They want to know that you are listening to their concerns and making serious moves to deal with them.

Leaders who remain candid, even in difficult times, will command the constant respect and attention of their workers. If you leave employees to solve problems for themselves, then you set a precedent for incompetency. Even talented employees need time to get used to the way your operation runs and you should be there to support them every step of the way.

Never differentiate between staff, either. If you lean too heavily towards your golden boy or girl, then you risk losing the interest of others. Whilst junior staff might not hit the heights immediately, you never know where they’ll end up in the future. Perhaps they’re only taking a part-time nursing job while they earn their main salary elsewhere. A few years down the line, they could be heading up the ward and it’s at this point that your belief in them will be rewarded by their loyalty.

4. Always Work Towards the Bigger Picture

One of the main reasons staff move on from a company is because they can feel themselves stagnating. With nothing to strive towards except the exit, it's only a matter of time before you see your innovators make a swift getaway.

Creativity needs vision and, if you can’t provide this as a leader, then you are taking your staff on a pointless journey.

Without passion or ambition, your company cannot hope to deliver on employee satisfaction. Being able to leave their mark on something bigger than their desk is the reason why top talent takes on a project. They are perfectly willing to accept that success isn’t instantaneous, but you need to be consistently taking them in the right direction.

Capitalising on the big moments and crediting your employees for their contribution to your company’s progression will ultimately provide meaning for their work.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.

5. Be Consistent With Your Actions

A leader who hops about from one foot to the next, never making the same decision twice, will not command respect.

Employees take their cue from the actions of those in charge. If they are left unsure of their superior’s motives, then they won’t be able to do their job to the expected level. Inconsistency in management leads to inconsistency in the whole workplace, which is why you can’t afford to get complacent.

Employees who lack direction are likely to look for stronger management elsewhere. In many cases, these members of staff could be vital to your company’s success. However, without assurances that their hard work will be put to good use, they’ll soon become disillusioned with their job.

As a leader, you need to be able to deliver on your promises.

Building relationships is key to any goals you wish to reach in the future. If you say one thing to an employee but then do the opposite behind their back, discontent will quickly spread throughout your office.

The best leaders remain genuine, keeping the best interests of both their staff and customers at the forefront of their minds. They don’t look to cut corners in order to make cheap deals with suppliers or clients but value the expertise of their most talented workers.

At the end of the day, talent retention boils down to leadership that takes everyone’s views into account. If you don’t stay true to your word, then you can’t expect sought-after employees to stay loyal to your company.

About the Author

Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors.

Ron is currently running medical job site Jobs4Medical, helping medical staff find careers in countries across the globe.