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239595034_d51a99ced1_z                                                    Orin Zebest

Ruth walked into Richard’s office and gave her two-week notice. As she delivered the news that she’d just been hired as CEO of another organization, her boss looked on–speechless. When at last able to speak, all Richard could muster was,  “Congratulations.  How wonderful for you.”

As Ruth went on talking, Richard sat dazed. Finally, he blurted out, “Holy Cow, Ruth, what am I going to do without you? You’re my right hand person. How am I going to function without you?” The question, though sincere, came too late. Richard had waited until the employee engagement scores came out indicating that Ruth had been rated highly by her direct reports before he ever acknowledged Ruth’s value to the organization and his appreciation of her work. When the engagement scores arrived, Richard was thrilled and said so, but by then, Ruth had already put the wheels in motion to get a new job.

What I knew that Richard didn’t was that Ruth had never felt appreciated by Richard and, as a result, she made the choice to “divorce” her boss and move to another organization–someplace she knew she could make a difference and where her gifts would be valued.

Every day star performers find other opportunities, accept other offerings, and quit because they do not have an influence, retention-focused boss.

One significant lesson shared by the 12 women leaders I interviewed for my upcoming book, The Unstoppables – 12 Women Leaders’ Journey to the Top, is the importance of demonstrating genuine influence through the care for your employees. Make sure they know the contribution they make and how much you genuinely value them and the work they do. So simple to be a real influence, and yet, it seems, so difficult for so many to remember.

Are you retention focused? Coach yourself by answering the following questions:
·    Do I recognize the unique gifts and talents of each of my direct reports?
·    Do I provide work that allows my employees to shine?
·    Do I give my employees positive feedback on a regular basis?
·    Do I look out for the best interest of those who work for me?
·    What do I have in place that allows me to connect with each of my employees on a regular basis?
·    What could I do to ensure that my star performers feel valued, appreciated, and motivated?

Mother Teresa talked about the path to real influence when she said: There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.

My question is this:  Why does it seem so difficult for so many to do?  I welcome your comments.

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