A group of workers gathered around a table during a training session

Leadership is about Influence

If you can’t get employees to follow the leader, they’ll leave.

Leadership is a complicated word. No matter what it says in the dictionary, leadership is about influence, getting people to make the right decision.

Many people in leadership roles fall short. For proof, look at all the “Help Wanted” signs outside many businesses. At foodservice establishments, they mean an employee has left and there’s a vacancy to be filled.

Ask yourself, “why people are leaving?” It’s not for more money. Research shows that 75% of employees who quit a job in the past three years left because of their supervisors. “The Great Game of Business,” an organization that teaches young people about employment and growth, says the No. 1 reason people stay in an organization is because of supervisor relationships. 

So what makes a good leader? No one follows someone simply because they have a title. Employees follow people they respect. 

And how do you get there? An ArcTree survey shows employees value leaders who:

  • Provide full appreciation for work done
  • Make them feel “in” on things
  • Offer sympathy/empathy with personal matters

A leader can say something nice about an employee in front of other people. The employee feels good. You look good. Respect is earned.

A leader can let employees “in” on things. You want to sell more burgers? Ask employees for ideas and ways to implement them. If the idea is a success, everyone wins.

A good leader must like people and really get to know them. What’s their spouse’s name? Kids’ names? Dog’s name? Favorite sports team? Where did they go to school? Know them and you’ll see when something’s troubling them. It doesn’t mean you will accept poor performance, but you’ll be able to counsel and get them back on track.

True leadership is about influence, having people follow you even when they have a choice not to.