In the past you were challenged by a stagnant work culture and now the tide has suddenly turned. You’re experiencing rapid new growth, new hires and high production. Energy is high, excitement is pouring, the company is running effectively and your business is flourishing.
The challenges of the past have become new trials of leading through the experiences of rapid growth. Your people are being pulled, stretched and are feeling the growth pains.
Let’s be clear. You want this growth to continue in a way to not spur turnover or distance others from the company’s core values. Strong positive leadership keeps people on the same page and moving in the same direction.
This article will address a few core ways on how to lead effectively and succeed in retaining key talent during rapid growth.
Write a compelling vision. People want more than a paycheck. They want to know where you are taking them, why and how you plan to get them there. They naturally aspire to be part of something bigger than they are. A leader’s vision responds to this craving. The former CEO of Campbell Soup, Doug Conant shared his vision with his people every day. He kept sharing and reinforcing his vision in order to get everyone in the company going in the right direction. Write out your personal leadership vision and your vision for the organization. Put your heart into it. Another step is to have each employee write their personal career visions and where they see themselves going with the organization. Commit to a daily action that will bring you closer to your visions. This will activate what social psychologist Dan Cable refers to as our seeking system─ a sense of purpose. When your seeking system is activated, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released in your brain, and you feel more motivated, purposeful and zestful. It can also unleash positive emotions such as curiosity, excitement, hope, gratitude, and enthusiasm that can lead not only to innovation, creativity, and openness, but also cause your organization and culture to flourish.
Maintain values and standards. Never compromise your company’s values for growth. The last thing your organization needs is a reputation for sloppy presentations, poor quality assurance and shoddy documentation. Employees who have been accustomed to high-standard processes will feel personally degraded and disgraced if standards are minimized. Not only will your employees not respect you, but your customers also. Put values and standards front and center. Communicate to your people that your organization’s values are non-negotiable during a growth season. Take it a step further to model and demonstrate the behaviors associated with the company’s values in clear view of them so they can follow-suit. Then openly acknowledge and reward your people when they do. This will improve motivation, performance and retention. New people will want to work in this type of environment.
Leverage individual strengths. Discovering and using the strengths and passions of others prepares the groundwork for working at your best. When people use their unique strengths at work it energizes and enables them to reach their full potential. For example, if an employee enjoys strategic thinking but this has not been incorporated into her specific assignment, she may not perform well. If she is given an additional work assignment that involves strategic thinking, research tells us that it’s highly likely she will be more engaged and also develop additional skills related to strategic thinking in the likes of creative thinking, critical thinking and effective questioning. As a result of leveraging her strategic thinking skills, other skills will grow in and of themselves adding more meaning and fulfillment into her work.
Outsmart stress and burnout. Burnout is a slow process of chronic stress that comes over a period of time. When working in a face-growth environment there will be stressful times. Not all stress is bad according to social psychologist Kelly McGonigal. However, your rapid growth environment may tie you to your job and have you working endless hours. Wherein feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, having excess anxiety or when people start to bug you in a wrong way, these are warning signs of burnout. You will start to lose self-confidence and become ineffective. Research shows that if we are going to alleviate burnout, we have to first know how we process and deal with stress.
Assess your job demands, job resources and learn how to manage your energy and not your time both inside and outside of work. Then create a resilience plan with an understanding of the six sources of flourishing: positive emotions, engagement (feeling “plugged into” what you’re doing); relationships; meaning; achievement; and health. The organization must also step in and take a look at their procedures, policies and culture to see what it is about those things that drives burnout.
You can lead effectively through rapid growth as you begin to implement these researched-based attitudes.
At DecisionLab, we are here to support you with operating an effective organization and reducing financial waste. We have worked with leaders at all levels to optimize performance, build strong leaders and modernize growth. You can start by identifying the causes of your own personal patterns. Download our free high-performance wellbeing exercises that build morale, improve communication, boost productivity and optimize growth.