Fifteen years ago, I made a big career move, I left the world of Broadcasting and moved into the world of Pharmaceutical Sales. I vividly remember a conversation I had with an acquaintance when I told her my plan. Her advice to me, as someone tenured in the Pharma industry, work hard and keep in mind, it’s not the job but the manager or leader who will make or break you.
Over the years, I’ve again changed careers and have been fortunate to work with some great leaders but I’ve seen managers break employees and I’ve always wondered why? Yes, leaders sometimes need to make hard decisions, have tough conversations and sometimes employees aren’t a right fit for the role, but there needs to be a better strategy in place. A strategy that feeds employees and leaders alike, a strategy that is truly a team effort in building trust and confidence for all involved.
As a leader, myself, I’ve had new employees move to my team and comment time and again about one common denominator, something they value, a simple strategy called the one-on-one meeting. In this fast paced, electronic focused world we work and live today, you’re missing out if you’re not sitting down and connecting face to face with your team.
If you meet only quarterly with your employees and they feel you are not available to them in between, you are at risk of losing good employees. If something impacts Susie’s work world shortly after you’ve met, by the time you and Susie have your next scheduled meeting she’s half way out the door. She’s frustrated and she’s taking all her talent and knowledge along with her. If you feel as a leader you don’t have the time to meet one-on-one, get creative to make it work, your employees are your most valuable asset. One-on-one meetings can be weekly, bi-monthly or even monthly, you must be available and be engaged.
As we see multiple generations in today’s work force, it’s even more important you get to know your employee on a personal level, think of your level of engagement with someone when you know something simple like, their daughter is a star soccer player or they love to travel. Knowing the individual personally, it’s easier to find out their professional goals, what motivates them, and what training needs they have. Each touchpoint opens the door to how you as their leader can better serve and mentor your team. Isn’t that the definition of leadership? You need to guide your people and your organization.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a leader, 2 days or 20 years, your most valuable assets are your employees and when you or your team stops developing professionally through regular feedback and training, it not only stunts their growth but the growth of your business.