You Are Patient Zero

Shawn Temple
You Are Patient Zero

It seems everywhere I go, organizations are struggling with labor challenges. Where do we find good people? How do we keep them? How can we get them to be more engaged? And more recently: Is there a trick to get people to show up for an interview?

There’s no doubt…it’s tough out there right now. It remains an employees’ market.

John Maxwell famously said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” It has been said that every business failure is a leadership failure. Of course, not everything is your fault. Many of the challenges that creep into your organization show up unexpected and uninvited.

Nevertheless, when gauging a department, branch or organization, we see the symptoms—but we look for the leader.


Demonstrate an Abundance Mindset


It is the leader’s obligation to create and maintain a well-run organization. Therefore, you, as the leader, are patient zero.

A great organization starts with your mindset. Leaders should always demonstrate an abundance mindset. That means staying positive, finding solutions to challenges and fostering an environment where others have the best chance to thrive.

Staying positive in a negative situation is not naïve; it’s leadership.  

Read that last line again. People are watching you. They are waiting to see your next move.


Create Clarity Around Your Goals


There isn’t a magic pill you can take to solve the many challenges you face, especially the labor challenges. While the best approach is simple, it isn’t easy.

The key is putting in the elbow grease to create the best work environment possible. It starts by setting an inspirational vision (NorthStar), explaining your daily mission, defining behavior expectations, identifying what makes you different from your competition and rallying everyone to a singular near-term goal.

Creating this level of clarity for your staff, aligning them around it and then doubling down by being relentless in all these areas is more than half the battle. You’d be surprised how many organizations cannot answer these questions—even at the senior level.  


Do Regular Check-Ins with Your Staff

Finally, the staff needs to see and hear you all the time. All. The. Time.  

Too often as leaders, we get busy and don’t devote the time to getting out and checking in with the staff. And I don’t mean reviewing their performance. I mean saying hello, asking about their kids, asking what’s going on in their lives, finding common ground. Employee engagement will go through the roof when staff members feel seen and heard—especially by leaders. And the more senior the leader that “sees” them, the better they feel about where they work. 

There’s no doubt this practice is simple, easy and will pay the most dividends (by far) of anything else you do to build engaged employees. Just try it for six weeks and see what happens. Don’t delegate this management-by-walking-around. As the Sinead O’Conner song so astutely says, “Nothing compares to you.”

Even as executives, you can’t do this alone. That’s why it’s nice to have some mentorship. On The Mark Strategies offers executive coaching so you know the best strategies to keep your organization moving forward. Book a free consultation today.

Shawn Temple
Strategy Director