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10 commandments for building magnetic relationships with employees

Christian Muntean

10 commandments for building magnetic relationships with employeesiStock

Many employers are finding it harder than ever to fully staff up. However, while some organizations struggle to find 'warm body' hires, others have retained high-performing teams through all of the turmoil and uncertainty of these last years.

To attract and retain the best people, you need to do two things. First, build a magnetic culture. Second, become a magnetic manager and leader.

The magnetic managers and leaders aren't necessarily charismatic or the life of the party. But they attract and retain great people. They know how to build and keep productive relationships.

Here are the 10 commandments to become a magnetic manager or leader:

1. Value:Values aren't just for organizations. At an individual level, you need to know what your values are. Your decisions and actions need to be in alignment with them. This gives you credibility and reliability. Know and work according to your values.

2. Purpose:Being able to inspire a shared sense of vision is one of the most compelling leadership traits. Most people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. That's why movies like The Hobbit or Star Wars or The Matrixbecome so compelling. People want to connect to a larger sense of purpose. They want leaders who can help them get there. Be committed to a larger purpose.

3. Contribution:Related to a sense of purpose, people want to feel like they are actively contributing. Not just going along for the ride. Find a place for everyone to meaningfully contribute. For roles where the contribution is less obvious (often support roles) clarify how their support is having a positive impact. Help others contribute, and recognize their contribution.

4. Affirmation:Self-image is one of the biggest issues that leaders deal with. But your teams do as well. Basically asking, "Who am I and does it matter?" Connecting to purpose and contribution goes a long way to helping people with their self-image. Affirm others—their value, their contribution, the unique value they bring to the workplace. Help others discover their significance through affirmation.

5. Respect:People want to feel respected. They want to work in an environment of respect. You can treat others respectfully even if they haven't yet earned your respect.Respect others and model respectful behavior.

6. Growth:Employees, especially high-performers, want to grow. They want to do good work. They want to explore what they are capable of. People want mentors, coaches, teachers, and guides. Be that for others. Help others grow.

7. Accountability:Be accountable and provide accountability. No one is perpetually consistent, constantly hitting their marks, or consistently living the ideal. Model this—be accountable to others. Also, provide accountability to others. Create clear definitions of what ideal behaviors, progress, and success look like. Regularly communicate how they are doing. They want to know. Provide accountability.

8. Conflict:Conflict is unavoidable. Healthy organizations anticipate it and work to mitigate it but build pathways for resolution for what they can't prevent. The best leaders aren't afraid of conflict but stay respectful and pursue understanding. They encourage and support employees to resolve their conflicts. They develop multiple options for resolution that feel accessible and safe to employees. Build avenues for conflict resolution.

9. Integrity:Credibility is the currency of leadership. Nothing protects the value of that currency like integrity. People want to trust and believe in the leaders they follow. They also want leaders who ensure integrity (both in terms of honesty and transparency as well as consistency) throughout their organizations. Protect your integrity.

10. Listen:Leaders often fall into the habit of being problem solvers, direction setters, and tellers. It can be challenging for leaders to listen. Whether it's taking the time to listen or learning to hear what hasn't been said or asking better questions. Good listeners build loyalty. Learn to listen deeply.

Becoming a magnetic manager and leader

Becoming a magnetic manager or leader is simple but not easy.

Go through the list above. Identify the areas you believe you are strong in and one or two areas you might want to grow in.

Take it a step further. Hand the list to your team. Ask them, "What one or two behaviors from this list are the most important for me to grow in this year?"

I know. It's a terrifying question for many. But you are only asking people to tell you what they are already thinking. And usually, it's not a criticism at all.

In fact, most of my coaching clients do ask their teams a similar question. They start to build an entirely different relationship with their team.

And as a result of being willing to ask that tough question, they experience consistent growth. They become "magnetic." Their teams consistently tell them and me they've grown as leaders.

Christian Muntean works with successful leaders and teams to help them grow their companies. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses and non-profits. He is the author ofConflict and Leadership: How to Harness Conflict to Build Better Leaders and Thriving Teams. 

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