Big Commitments and Excellence Are Connected

Last night, I watched Peyton Manning’s official press conference where he announced he would no longer be the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. He said, “I was honored to be your quarterback” while fighting back emotional tears of his long term 14-year commitment to the Indianapolis Colts. I believe Peyton made the kind of commitment that is becoming rare in today’s work place. The Colts were the only team he ever played for in his entire NFL career. He won a super bowl and 4 MVP titles while playing there. The Colts became a great team for many years because of his commitment.

Peyton had also made the same kind of commitment to the Indianapolis community by starting a foundation that gave back to help local kids. In fact, a local hospital had named a children’s hospital after him.

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When you make a commitment to take a new job, the only way you are ever going to get the chance to work in a top performing organization is to join others who are committed to excellence over time. Excellence doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a real commitment from everyone to get better.

The economic recession has forced many companies to cut back staff to become mean and lean so commitment and trust has really taken a hit. Many talented professionals are overlooked for raises because of the company has adopted a ‘no raise’ policy and they are often attracted away to new jobs which help to provide necessary increases to meet growing family demands. Loyalty doesn’t seem to be as important in today’s market. Mutual commitment has really taken a hit in recent years.

Here are some tips for building long term employee commitments:

1. Most employees like to talk about their future with leadership but few managers take the time to discuss it. In many cases, they fail to ask the employee about their expectations for future career advancement path. Communication is important.

2. The quality of leadership an employee receives is also very critical to employee retention. People stay longer when they respect their supervisor. You must earn it.

3. Utilizing the talents and strengths of each employee is not only wise but very motivating.

4. Your best employees expect you to invest in their development. They feel valued when they get additional opportunities for career enhancement training.

5. Take time to visit your employees where they work. You need to get out of the ivory tower. It shows you have a true interest in developing a working relationship that is built on mutual respect. Too many times, supervisors never take the time to visit their employees. I think it is a huge leadership connection opportunity that is often missed.

6. Never criticize your staff publicly when they are not there. It will get back to them. Resist the temptation. Praise is what you want them to hear in the grapevine.

7.  Your words can be trusted when you said they have a bright future. The opportunities for advancement match the evaluation feedback.

8. Finally, find creative ways to show your appreciation for great work and extra effort. It is expected and provides the biggest disappointment when you fail to give it.

The ability to develop a sustainable level of excellence always demands commitment from more than just leadership. The leadership influence is developing ways of showing regular appreciation and career development is connected to long term employee retention.

Why do people leave where you have worked? What advice would you give your boss about raising employee satisfaction?

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