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Forget weight loss, resolve to keep your best people

Posted by Chad O'Connor  January 29, 2014 06:00 AM

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With a new year upon us, resolutions reign. But many will be abandoned in short order. This year, try something different. Think beyond yourself, and make resolutions that will benefit those other important people in your life - your team. Not only will you feel the business gain, you might just find some personal satisfaction as well.

1. Ensure everyone has a clear plan, and understands their impact.
Does everyone on your team know what they are supposed to be focused on this year? Does each individual have a clear understanding of what he or she is doing that contributes to the overall success of the team? Then take it up a step. Can you help the team understand how their work contributes to the overall success of your company? People want and need to understand how their contributions impact the organization, no matter how large or small. Ensure each person has clear goals for their personal growth, that the overall team understands their mission, and then draw that clear line for them to the big picture.

2. Understand what motivates each person.
One size does not fit all. For some people, being able to work flexibly to avoid traffic is important. Others may look for increased responsibilities at a rapid pace. Everyone is motivated differently. Take the time to get to know each person on your team, and find ways to manage to their motivators. It's amazing how loyal people can be when they know you care, listen, and respect what is important to them.

3. Celebrate successes.
We live in a world of non-stop "what's next." Often, we don't take the time to stop and acknowledge the accomplishments and the wins before moving on to the next big challenge. Take the time to recognize the hard work, the sacrifices, and even the family members who’ve supported your team during those late nights in the office. One of the best parts of being a team is celebrating the victories together. Find fun, energizing ways to reward and recognize during these times – before you move on to the next big project.

4. Have their backs.
Not everything is a success. To grow and learn, people will inevitably make mistakes and fail at some point. One of the differences between good leaders and great ones are those who are willing to give their people enough rope to expand, but not enough to hang themselves. "My boss has my back" is one of the biggest reasons people cite for their loyalty. People who feel this way are more likely to innovate, create, grow and learn.

5. Encourage them to broaden their horizons.
Make sure that everyone does something to learn, grown, and deepen their knowledge. Get them out of the office. If you have the budget, send them to a class or a conference. Encourage them to join a networking group. Help them find a mentor in their field that isn't you. Remember, anything that helps them continue to thrive is likely going to keep them motivated.

6. Fill in the blank slate.
Motivate your people to pre-populate your team calendar early with their vacation requests. Not only will this prevent overlap and allow you to provide and plan for coverage issues with ample time, it will let your team know that it's important to you that they take time to rest and rejuvenate. No, vacation isn't for wimps. You don't earn a gold star if you check email during your whole week off. Let your team know that you believe everyone is going to be far more value to the team if they take breaks. Yes, even you. Because it's true.

Wishing you all a happy, high-morale, profitable new year.

Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer of Rapid7.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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