The Art of Retaining Quality Leaders

By Rick Cassidy

Creating a successful company isn’t just a matter of having a good product or the money to outlast competitors. If you don’t have good leadership, you can expect to have a high turnover rate at both the management and lower levels of the company. That makes it vital to retain good leaders when you get them.

How to Recognize a Good Leader

 Before you can figure out how to retain quality leadership, you have to know what to look for in a good leader. It isn’t always obvious to see on the surface of things because in the short term you can notice positive changes in the common business metrics like profit margin and product sales even when your leadership team isn’t functioning at its maximum potential.

How do you know if you have a good leader?

The best way is to spend some time walking around the workplace. Are they generally satisfied with their jobs? Is the work environment pleasant? You can tell a lot about the way a team leader manages his or her team by the atmosphere of the workplace. If the employees are happy with their leader, they will be chatting or engaged in productive work.

Watch how the employees interact with their team leader. Are they engaged and positive or do they shy away from contact or appear hurried or uninterested in the conversation?

Keep in mind the traits that often make the best leaders: an emphasis on teamwork, the ability to stand back and let all members contribute to the conversation, and an ability to organize and prioritize tasks.

The Financial vs. People-Centric Leader

The leader with a focus on improving the financial status of a company is usually more interested in maintaining a team of workers who will focus on working toward that financial gain. Call quotas, monthly sales numbers, and maintaining a team of employees who can produce results quickly are usually at the top of the priority list. The leader doesn’t worry about the employee turnover rates or eliciting results from each employee, as long as there are individuals willing to put the time and work into moving “up the ladder.”

The people-centric team leader is an organized business person with a plan for increasing the profit margin and improving the quick ratio, but he or she is also concerned about the success of each member of the team, from the enthusiastic go-getter to the shy-but-creative problem solver. The good leader wants to see the whole team succeed as one entity. He or she often inspires team members to go beyond their own perceived abilities

The Elusive People Person

Managers or leaders who present the qualities of a good leader and those who lack the people skills but exhibit other leadership traits can both improve the financial position of your company. The acid test of a quality leader is whether your leader has the interpersonal skills to engage and inspire improvement among his team members, offering more than a short-term financial gain. A good team leader who can inspire a team to work for the good of the company instead of individual gain typically has the loyalty of his or her team members. And loyalty is the key to overall employee retention.

The Key to the Kingdom

It follows that what makes a good management leader, also makes a good CEO. If you want to retain your top-notch leaders, you need to inspire their loyalty. Be available to hear the concerns of your management team and allow them to contribute ideas and thoughts. Transparency is also important. If there are major changes on the way, make sure your leadership team knows about it first. Inspire them to want to better themselves and their teams. Finally, don’t ask your leaders to do something you won’t do yourself. You will be rewarded with a team of quality leaders who will stay with your company as it grows.

The Benefits of Retaining Good Leaders

Why should you concern yourself with retaining a people-centric management leader if there’s a financial improvement under the more authoritarian leader? The simple answer is that the improvements to the profit margin and sales you notice on the books will be offset by the loss you experience through an increased turnover rate and everything that goes with it, including the following:

  • Expense of vetting and interviewing potential candidates
  • Expense of training new employees
  • Loss of productive hours from having fewer employees until you can hire a replacement
  • Expense of wiping and clearing ex-employees from the database
  • Loss of morale as remaining employees have more pressure on them to ‘pick up the slack.’

If you keep the leader but lose his/her team, it will cost more to replace those disgruntled employees than it will to find leaders who can create the same financial gains over time without losing team members in the process. Looking at the big picture, retaining quality leaders is about building their loyalty to the company and its mission statement, allowing them to travel along with you on the same road toward business success.

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About Sky Search Partners

Rick Cassidy, Sky Search Partners president, founded the firm for one primary reason: We love putting people to work. Sky Search Partners has developed a rigorous platform for engaging, researching, and connecting with the most successful executive talent. The firm executes with a laser focus on to identify candidates precisely aligned to search specifications. A proven formula of integrity and “people first” enables it to build trusted relationships with organizations and top-tier talent across key disciplines, job titles, national markets, and industry classes. This enables client organizations to create their “dream team,” especially in highly competitive environments where results are imperative.

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