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7 People-Centric Leadership Skills to Engage and Retain Your People

The numbers are startling:

Evidently, employees believe that life is too short to labor under sub-optimal work conditions and are leaving the grind behind. They are convinced that just over the fence the grass is greener. This sends a clear message – employees want a more purposeful work-life balance and fair wages.

Managers with a growth mindset will view this labor market disruption as a rich opportunity to stretch their leadership capabilities and strengthen the vitality of their organizations. As the bumper sticker says, if you’re not awake you’re not paying attention.

“Only a third of U.S. employees strongly agree that their opinion at work seems to count.”


To pay people what they’re worth organizations are taking a hard look at raising wages and broadening compensation, but these are just table stakes. At the end of the day people don’t just quit companies, they quit managers and cultures that play a transactional game. It’s time to put the human experience central to how we lead and manage.

7 People-Centric Leadership Skills to Engage and Retain Your People.

#1 – Get your heart right.

Servant Leadership begins with the natural and deliberate intention to serve. Motive drives leadership behavior and action. Start your development from the inside-out.

#2 – Go on a listening tour.

Empathy and active listening are a leader’s primary tool for building rapport and connection. Commit to daily check-ins and team huddles. Ask what’s on people’s minds. Use stop-start-continue framework for soliciting lots of feedback. Start checking your ego at the door.

#3 – Invert the pyramid.

Participative leadership drives engagement, ownership, and loyalty. Trust your people, share control, and increase autonomy. Continue to find win-win flexible work arrangements.

#4 – Connect people with a compelling vision.

Money doesn’t matter as much to today’s modern workforce. Employees seek an employer-of-choice who strives to make the world and workplace just a little better. Great leaders inject energy, passion and meaning to work by over-communicating “why” the business exists.

#5 – Default to transparency.

Employees want to be empowered to own their work and be involved in decisions that impact their circle of influence. Start sharing more information than you are comfortable with. Organizations can only adapt, innovate, and grow proportionally to individual’s knowledge and skill levels.

#6- Imbed continuous learning into your culture’s DNA.

Like bees to honey, top talent is attracted to organizations that offer a clear pathway to growth and career advancement. Performance-driven employees seek out leaders with a strong commitment to coaching.

#7 – Commit to one meaningful conversation a week with each team member.

This single leadership action could move the needle on employee retention as, according to Gallup, “Only 20% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they have had a conversation with their manager in the last six months about the steps they can take to reach their goals.”

Managers – it’s not going to be enough to pivot and adapt to change, we must reimagine the workplace. Let’s not go backwards. Be a strategic visionary leader who co-creates human-centric culture with your teams. The above 7 People-Centric Leadership Skills will truly help you retain your top people.

Keep it Simple. Keep it Focused. Definitely Keep it Inspiring.   –Steve

Want more key insight to managing your talent in this tumultuous work environment? Check out my brand new Hybrid Manager Skills Video Series!