Mirroring Exemplary Behavior

In the spirit of the season, most of us look to the new year as an opportunity to reflect on our jobs.

For some, this raises questions like “Is it time to move to a new company or even to a new career?” or “Should I ask for a promotion?” and many more.

For those who want to retain the best people and get the most from them, take the time to reflect on whether you are the type of leader others would want to work for.

Make a fresh start this year by taking a long, tough look in the mirror and asking yourself:

Am I As Tough On Myself As I Am On My Employees?

Because we are human, many times we fall into the trap of being tough with people we believe have great potential, yet we forget to hold ourselves to the same standards.

There is no doubt that talented and ambitious people have high expectations--for themselves, their team or agency, and their colleagues in general. As their leader, this includes you!

The ultimate challenge in a position of authority is to demonstrate the same values, attitudes, and mindsets you want to see from employees.

Am I Adding Value To My Employees’ Lives?

Employees are paid to perform specific tasks with specific job titles. But does their job add any significance to their lives?

As a leader, providing meaning is arguably one of your roles.

Show employees that you hold them in high regard by delegating and assigning them to oversee projects. This will let them know they matter not only to the agency/company, but to you, too!

Do I Motivate Talented People To Want To Work With Me?

Most talented employees are not motivated primarily by money or status or a parking spot. They want to work on projects that excite, stimulate, and motivate them.

Why? They feel their work has an impact.

Put simply, great people want to feel like they’re part of something greater than themselves--an agency’s vision, a company’s mission statement, etc. So, part of your job is to keep everyone energized and determined.

Can I Find Great People Who Aren’t Looking For Me?

Perhaps the most challenging task for leaders is to seek out people who are not looking for them.

Running a team, a department, an agency, or even a company filled with the most talented people could be any leaders’ dream. But persuading people who may be outside your agency or company, or even someone in a different department, to work for you is more difficult than it sounds!

It requires a compelling vision of the future--one that meets both the needs of the department, agency, or company, and your employees. So, can you use this compelling vision to your advantage when recruiting people who initially have no interest in working for you?

Am I An Advocate Of Change?

Most of the time, leaders have no say on change, especially outside their scope of responsibility.

However, part of your job is to recognize that change is a process that takes time and that employees will move through it at different phases.

So, provide as much information as possible about why these changes have occurred, listen to employees’ concerns and fears, and then finally let them be a part of the process as far as what's ahead.

Including everyone in the process of change enhances their ownership about their team, department, or agency. But remember this: if you want them to change, you need to be the first to do so!

Dr. Tatiana Chalkidou is a post-doctoral fellow at Oklahoma State University, working in different park management projects. She holds a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in Health, Leisure, and Human Performance, a M.BA. and a M.Sc. in Human Resources Management and Development from University of Leicester in the UK, and a B.S. in Physical Education and Sport Science from University of Athens, Greece. She can be reached via email at tat.chalkidou@okstate.edu.

Bryan BuchkoComment