How to Build People

Leadership is about people, and people only.

You manage things; budgets, inventories, and plans but you lead people. The ultimate goal of leading people should be building them and helping them succeed.

One of the biggest obstacles to building people is time. People development requires time, and most people in leadership positions are incredibly busy people. The speed of business is increasing by the day and with that speed comes a bushel of urgent tasks. The problem is, urgent things are very often not the most important thing you can be doing. They also are frequently not the most productive thing you could be doing.

In my perhaps not so humble opinion building people is one of the most productive actions a leader can take. But for too many leaders the urgent stuff gets in the way. It’s called the tyranny of the urgent. It prevents well intentioned leaders from doing the important things that offer a high return on their time investment.

If you’re a leader who sees developing your people as an expense of your time then you likely won’t take or find the time required to build them. However, if you see developing your people as an investment, an investment of your time, then you are likely to find or make the time required to build them.

So how exactly do you invest this time you’ve worked so hard to find?

Well, you invest it in getting to know you’re people, in understanding their motivations and how you can help them stay engaged. You invest time to show them how much you care. You invest time to demonstrate to your people how they make a difference. 

Some leaders say their people are their most important asset, successful leaders don’t waste time saying…. they use their time showing.

Showing your people that they are worth your time is the fastest and most effective way to build your people. Don’t be a “say” leader, be a “show” leader and start building your people today.

Building Loyal Employees

According to a study by the Hay Group, a global management consultancy firm, trust and confidence in top leadership is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.

Their research also showed that consistent communication in 3 areas was essential to building that trust and confidence. The three areas are:

· Helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy.
· Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives.
· Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division is doing.

Now I’m going to make a pretty broad statement here and I want you to understand that I know what I’m about to say is not accurate for every organization but I believe that it is for most.

Most leaders are relatively effective at sharing their organization’s overall strategy and can almost certainly break out their organization’s progress by division or segment when that is required. Where they most often fall short is in explaining how each individual employee contributes to achieving the organization’s goals and objectives.

The scary thing is, of the three essential areas, knowing where “they fit” and how they contribute is most important for individual employees.

Most leaders are so focused on the results that they tend to overlook where the results truly come from. Systems and a good process only help get to the results, it’s actually people, human beings, who make the results happen.

Their efforts need to be recognized. Notice I said NEED! That need doesn’t make them weak, it doesn’t make them egocentric, it doesn’t make them “high maintenance,” it merely makes them human.

Every person you lead NEEDS to know that they matter; they need to know that the effort they put forth contributes to the success of the organization. You can’t let them know that too often, and you can’t be too specific. Make it a point to give them examples of exactly how something they did added value or made a positive impact.

If you’re leading a large organization you may not be able to share personally with everyone how their role makes a difference but it is your responsibility to ensure that leaders at every level of your organization let their people know that they and their job matters.

Once your people know that what they do matters they will no longer feel as if they “have” to do it, they will “want” to do it and they will want to do it well. They will trust you and their confidence in you and your organization will grow. They will not only be satisfied employees, they will become loyal to their role, to the organization, and to you, their leader.

They will become the people you need to have with you in order to succeed!