Career Development and Fulfillment is for EVERYONE!

I first met Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting when we were both presenters at Peninsula (VA) SHRM’s annual day long conference September, 2016

I recently had a discussion with a peer consultant, Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting Associates, who frequently works with clients in a traditionally low paying industry. And this low paying industry has the same talent concerns as high powered tech firms, etc. How do they prevent high turnover and how do they keep their people motivated and growing?

What an excellent question. And after pondering this I realized that all human beings have the same need and aspiration out of their vocation. In addition to making an income to live, everyone likes to enjoy what they are doing, getting a sense of satisfaction from their work, and feeling they are growing as a person. This equally applies to someone making minimum wage in what may be considered “under-appreciated” work compared to those college educated professionals making six-figure salaries.

YES! We need to stop right there. No person should ever look down at another human being and consider someone else’s job or vocation as “menial” or “less than.” We should treat the highly specialized surgeon who may be operating on us and the person giving us our meal at a fast food restaurant with the same respect. We should equally respect a health care aide making about minimum wage, often working alone in a client’s home taking on physical and emotional challenges, as much as the CEO of a large company grappling with global commerce.

Think about this – how many of us routinely interact with corporate CEOs? Very few. We all interact with people making minimum wage several times per day. Isn’t it pleasant when these people serve us with a smile because they sincerely enjoy what they are doing and want to deliver an excellent client experience?

People working in traditionally lower paying jobs are often very critical since they are in customer and client facing roles.

Here are three important points to consider for providing skills and career development and fulfillment programs for those lower wage employees:

1) More often than not, your lower wage employees are the ones in client-facing roles. An energized satisfied employee can provide excellent service to your clients so they keep returning, whereas an unhappy employee will turn clients and customers away.

2) The cost of recruiting, replacing, onboarding and training replacements for departing experienced employees can often be up to one full year of salary. Constant employee churn is very costly and can indeed impact your bottom line. For example, in home care, consultant Anne-Lise Gere estimates it to cost at least $2,500 when a caregiver leaves within 3 months, and this does not take into account the potential churn in clients dissatisfied with losing their caregiver.

3) Some of your entry level and lower wage employees have ambition and the ability to progress into management and leadership roles. Do not discount them. When doing my career development projects for my clients, I often profile mid-level managers and even senior leaders who got their start in the company in minimum wage jobs.

Indeed there is a value proposition and strong business case for engaging all employees in skills building and career development activities.

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Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer offers consulting services in diversity and career development, including its innovative “Total Engagement Career Mapping” offering for engaging employees in meaningful company-tailored career planning.

I thank Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting Associates for her valuable input and insights for this blog.

My Five Components of Excellent Leadership

Webster’s Dictionary defines leadership as “the power or ability to lead other people,” but for most people, there’s a lot more to it than that.

About a year ago, I replied to a press inquiry from someone writing an article on leadership and was soliciting quotes. I provided mine, and then was totally surprised when, over the past year, over two dozen other writers and bloggers have picked it up and used it!

This is my initial quote was included in the article on “Business News Daily.”

“Effective leadership is providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal, and then understanding the talents and temperaments of each individual and effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best toward achieving the group goal.”

Link to the complete original article “33 Ways to Define Leadership.”

Now let me break this quote down into five important components of leadership, piece by piece:

1) Providing the vision and motivation to a team … A good leader understands the overall vision and goals for the team and then expresses it in a clear and dynamic way so that entire team understands it and is motivated to support it. This could also include soliciting input from the team members when forming the vision and goals. When people have a role in “vision forming,” they more frequently will take personal ownership.

2) So they work together toward the same goal … It is important for the leader to serve as a unifying force for the team and encouraging and rewarding good team work. This often can be difficult; a leader may sometimes need to address issues or people who are working on their own agenda instead of the team’s.

3) Understanding the talents and temperaments of each individual… And then the good leader understands that members of the team bring a diverse collection talents, temperaments and styles. The good leader will take the time to learn about and understand each team member and work to fully leverage and utilize their unique skills to the maximum benefit for the team project.

4) Effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best… and though the leader is leading and motivating the team, the excellent leader knows how to best motivate each individual. Some people may need more prodding and pushing than others. Some people are positively motivated by more frequent praise and feedback. Others may be seeking a financial bonus or career promotion. It is important for a good leader to customize their leadership style to best address each individual.

5) And finally … toward achieving the group goal… Leadership comes around full circle to where we began; achieving results. A good leader keeps their eyes on the end game and the results they are trying to achieve, and continues to lead the team and each individual toward accomplishing that team goal.

Excellent leaders can have a profound and positive impact on driving business results, and all organizations should continue to train and foster effective leaders who build and lead effective teams of talented individuals who achieve team goals and reap personal fulfillment.

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Here are some of the other articles that later picked up and used my leadership quote:

Leadership Definitions by Scholars

In his “The Leadership Challenge” blog about what true leadership is, consultant Andrew John Harrison includes my quote along with 14 others. Who are the 15 quotes from? They include Ronald Reagan, John C. Maxwell, Ernest Hemingway, Dolly Parton, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower …. and ME!

On page 15 of the January / February 2016 issue of “Mentor Magazine”