Put two managers serving in a similar role side by side, and you may see that one has a low rate of employee turnover while the other struggles to keep staff. Roberta Chinsky Matuson describes the former as a “magnetic leader,” one who excels at attracting and retaining talent.
“People don’t work for companies. They work for people,” said Matuson, author of The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers, and Profits (Routledge, 2017), in an interview with AMA’s Edgewise podcast series.
As president of Matuson Consulting, she has seen that magnetic leaders develop more productive teams. These teams create experiences that keep the customer coming back, which leads to greater profitability. “This is not necessarily a complex idea, but it does require that you execute,” she said.
Attracting and retaining top performers
Use these tips from Matuson to build your magnetic leader potential:
Develop your own talent pool. In a competitive job market, managers of successful teams should be looking for potential employees all the time. Matuson suggests that when you meet someone who might be a good fit for your team—or know someone who is—you make it a point to build a relationship.
She cautions managers—especially younger managers—that having a lot of contacts on social media is not a substitute for developing relationships. “It’s really about building your network,” she said.
Recognize the human element of business. Matuson says there is nothing more important than putting employees first. Regardless of the generational differences in the workforce, all employees want to be treated with respect, to make a contribution, and to feel good about their work.
Treat people as individuals. To build retention, you need to deal with employees as individuals. Matuson offers the example of an excellent performer who asks to work from home a few days a week to care for an ill family member. A manager might say no if company policy prohibits such arrangements. But in this case, the leader should make an exception because the employee is exceptional. “You reward people based on their contributions,” she said.
Listen to the full podcast with Roberta Matuson.
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