Are You About to Lose One of Your Best Employees?

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I’m angry at Janie’s boss.

I don’t know Janie’s boss. I’ve never met Janie’s boss. But I do know Janie. Janie is one of the most diligent, hard-working, eager-to-learn people I’ve ever met. But because Janie’s boss doesn’t understand one of the basic rules of leadership, Janie is being made to feel like a failure in her job, and is thinking about leaving. So what’s the rule that Janie’s boss doesn’t understand? It’s this:

It’s a leader’s job to create an environment where team members can thrive.

It’s a #leader’s job to create an environment where team members can thrive. #Leadership #Teams Click To Tweet



In his groundbreaking book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman outlines the five ways that people feel loved and/or appreciated: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Janie is very much a “words of affirmation” girl. She thrives when she receives recognition for things she’s doing right. Not only does this give her important feedback, it also drives her to want to excel. And when Janie feels driven to excel, there’s no stopping her. She gives it her all.

(Incidentally, Chapman has adapted his approach specifically to the workplace in his book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.)

Janie’s boss doesn’t get this. She only gives Janie feedback when Janie does something wrong. So Janie never hears about the good things she’s doing (and there are plenty), only the mistakes. The “words of affirmation” girl is only hearing words of criticism. So instead of thriving, she feels like she’s withering on the vine.

The real loser here is Janie’s boss. I know Janie. I know what she’s capable of. Janie could be a superstar in the organization, but because her boss doesn’t know (and doesn’t seem to be interested in learning) how to set her up for success, Janie will probably become a superstar in a different — possibly competing — organization.

Janie’s boss has written Janie off as a failure because Janie’s boss never bothered to understand how Janie needs to be led.

As you’re leading your team, it’s important for you to remember that different people learn in different ways, and different people thrive in different settings. It’s your job, as a leader, to set your people up for success. This means finding out what’s important to them, how they learn, what kind of feedback propels them.

Lesson for #leaders: different people learn in different ways. #Leadership #Teams Click To Tweet

Does this take a little time and effort on your part? Yep. But it’s nothing compared to the time and effort required to replace a potentially great team member who leaves the team because she doesn’t feel appreciated.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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