Take time to notice who is lighting it up, making a difference, achieving their goals, and inspiring others. Notice who is taking a risk, facing a fear, and starting again after failing. Notice who goes first in the meeting, affirms those around them, and acknowledges other’s success. Notice who has an easy smile, sees opportunity in challenge, and takes a stand for what they believe in.
These people are on every team in every role you have. And they are your leadership team. They may not be your formal leadership team, but trust me, they are the leadership team your company and clients respond to.
These are the people who are ambassadors for your company, and thus, they MUST know your vision, your passion, you big hairy audacious goals (BHAG). They MUST feel like you SEE them. Not in the literal sense but in a deeper psychological sense of feeling acknowledged as part of your inner circle. They typically don’t need much external motivation, but they do need to feel like they are part of something special; part of something bigger; part of a bright future. They WANT to make a difference, and as a leader, our role is to create the space for them to do that.
How do we make them feel like their part of our inner circle? There are so many management theories out there with equations for employee engagement, but it really comes down to 3 factors:
- Spend time with them
- Include them in discussions leading up to decisions
- Give them credit for their higher contribution by taking good care of them – financial, perks, treatment, acknowledgment, etc. These are not REWARDS; these are the natural consequences of stellar behavior.
As a business leader and owner, I struggle to create time for this; even though I know it is the highest return investment on my time. It’s important to remember we are not alone. You can institutionalize some of these behaviors so they happen without your initiation, and you can get your supervisors involved by educating them on the compounding return of investing in this group of shining stars.
Our teams must do more than just know this. We must do it every day. So before you open the next excel spreadsheet to do a data dig, go connect with at least one shining star.