Something to Strive For

clear expectations employee engagement employee experience employee happiness employee retention employee satisfaction engagement exceeding expectations high performers leadership leadership culture management profit profitability profitability killers recruitment retention servant leadership supervision top down approach Mar 15, 2023
top down approach

As we build a top down leadership model that has a positive impact on recruitment and retention throughout our facility, we can expect that same leadership style to drive results in our areas too as long as we understand the difference between servant leadership and subservient leadership. I heard Dave Ramsey differentiate the two very plainly a few years ago by explaining that subservient leadership is doing things our team members can and should be doing for themselves where servant leadership is doing the things for those folks that they cannot do for themselves. He went on to suggest that a servant leader expects their team members to meet (or even exceed) the expectations of their role!

A while back, I had the opportunity to hear a Lt. Col., who oversees our local university’s ROTC program, share some successes he had seen from his cadets as well as some challenges the United States Military is experiencing nationwide. If I understood correctly, it sounded like overall recruitment across the various service branches was down close to 40%. The part that really grabbed my attention though was him nonchalantly mentioning that his ROTC program had produced almost double the number of officer candidates based on the targets for a school that size. When he gave an opportunity for Q&A, I made sure I had heard both stats correctly and asked what he attributed the overwhelming success of his program to when the nationwide totals were so far down. He simply replied, “We’ve never dropped our high expectations. Good people want to be a part of that.”

When business owners maintain high, but achievable, expectations and they practice a genuine servant leadership approach that cascades from the top down, it definitely attracts and retains some of the best people in the respective field but it also yields a level of performance that just doesn’t come from carrots or sticks… 

In too many scenarios, there’s a misconception that the leader of a team should do whatever they can to ensure their team members are happy or satisfied. Let’s be honest, we all know our share of people who are happy to sit on their couch and eat chips. And we can probably each make a fairly long list of folks who would be perfectly satisfied in a role where they’re not held accountable for anything. But when we invest the time and energy necessary to earn influence and lead effectively, it not only impacts our organization’s recruitment and retention efforts, it also drives this thing called employee engagement. Some employees could be perfectly happy and completely satisfied to just go through the motions without ever meeting or exceeding what their job requires but an engaged employee produces results - and they’re almost always satisfied in their work!

We’ll work through how leaders at any level in their respective company can address this profitability killer soon. For now though, my point ties back to how a top down approach leads to capturing your best return! And if we want to make sure the leaders at each level throughout our teams contribute to this return, we’ll need to continuously work on building our bench strength!