The last two decades have seen growing competition among companies to attract and retain good talent.

There’s been a trend toward bells and whistles: A ping pong table in every break room. A scooter in every hallway.

But these perks don’t work in the long run.

If you want to build your Dream Team, there’s one key thing your company needs to do, and it doesn’t involve adding a luxury massage package to every health plan.

Ready to learn the real secret to attracting and retaining top talent? Let’s dive in.

Leadership Is a Talent Magnet

Think about the kinds of employees you want to attract and retain. You want them to be happy and stay with you, but you also want them to contribute their full potential.

This means you want to attract employees who are invested not only in your mission but also in their own growth.

If your company has a core value of providing each team member the opportunity to develop their potential and grow in their career, you’ll attract “keepers.”

And you’ll retain them because they’ll be able to grow and evolve within your company instead of leaving once they’ve outgrown their current position.

Good leaders attract better employees. That’s because good leaders value each member of their team and help them take on new roles and new challenges that tap their full potential.

Employees will leave a company for a better boss. Someone who really values them and gives them an opportunity to thrive.

So give employees the best boss they can imagine. What makes a great boss? The answer is someone who’s a great leader.

Leaders Are Made, Not Born

Now you know that to have your dream team, you need good leaders. So let’s look at how to get them.

The first thing to keep in mind is that leaders are made, not born.

You can’t just say this person is a leader and leave it at that. You have to develop them and help them grow their leadership capacity.

New leaders have a period of overwhelm and confusion when they realize they have to be in charge of other people. There’s a transition period as they find their sea legs.

Leadership isn’t always intuitive. Leaders have to figure out how to step into this new role and really own it. That’s a tall order.

New leaders may be afraid to speak up because if they complain, they feel like they’re not really a leader, or that they shouldn’t have been put in this role. So they accept the mantle of leadership and try to navigate how to be a good boss all on their own.

That’s often a recipe for disaster.

You Can’t Force Leadership

Leadership is a choice. You may have an associate you think has what it takes to be a leader. But just because you see that potential for them doesn’t mean they want to lead.

Some people by temperament or choice have said, “I don’t want to lead people.” That’s OK. Not everyone will be a leader. They can still add huge value to the business. Don’t force a square peg into a round hole.

Instead, focus on people who have the drive to become leaders, even if they need some work to get there.

Picture an iceberg. The part you see above the surface of the water is basic fundamentals of leadership. But this is only 10% of what leadership takes.

Below the surface, that other 90%, is what I call leadership character.

What happens when leaders don’t have character? People don’t follow them.

They have the skills and assume they can lead, but others don’t respond well to them.

Leadership isn’t just about what you know. It’s about how you show up—your attitude, behavior, and how you make others feel.

In leadership, character really counts!

How To Retain Good Talent

Let’s jump back to our original question: How do you attract and retain good talent?

Here’s what our answer looks like so far:

  • To get and retain talent, you need good leaders.
  • Good leaders are made, not born.
  • Good leaders need support and training.
  • Character is the core of a good leader.

So the real question you need to ask is, “How do I develop good leaders?”

Here’s the core truth I know from my decades at Fortune 500 Companies and from mentoring and coaching employees:

Mediocre leaders walk into a room and try to lead. Great leaders walk into a room and try to add value and serve.

Cultivating the ability to think of others first seems counter-intuitive. But it’s been shown again and again to be what defines great leaders. [link to Mark Miller’s 5 Traits of a Strong Leader post]

This desire to serve is hands-down the secret of great leadership. But it’s not what the top students are learning in their MBA programs.

That’s exactly why it’s what I cover in my coaching. I help leaders and potential leaders…

  • Evaluate their own thoughts and make rapid changes using scientifically-proven techniques.
  • Understand and shift their behaviors to effectively lead others.
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Build leadership character by becoming resilient and confident.

This style of coaching rapidly unlocks leadership potential. And once you have leaders operating at their best, you’ll start seeing a ripple effect throughout your entire organization. That’s when you’ll begin attracting and retaining good talent.

Ready to take your leaders to the next level? Schedule your free Strategy Session today and learn how I can help you beef up your leadership so you can corner the market on employee talent.