Transformational leadership

How to be a leader who attracts, inspires and retains the best talent

The work landscape was changing even before the pandemic. The next-gen prioritises purpose, passion, and fulfillment above loyalty, stability, and salary, which were more valued by the previous generations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled more organisations to rejig their work culture to make it an inclusive and thriving place for everyone.
In this article, we discuss the changing workplace dynamics, how organisations are hiring ‘Talent Multipliers,’ and how you can be one.
The Talent Multiplier: A Case Example
One of the best examples of an exceptional leader is Magic Johnson.
Johnson was a sports prodigy from his school days as he led his team to victory after victory.
However, one day, he noticed the grim faces of parents whose children were in the school team and disappointed that Johnson stole all the limelight.
Something struck inside Johnson, and he vowed to make everyone in the team shine, not just himself, from that day onwards.
The world did not just get one of the greatest athletes in history but also one of its most outstanding leaders.
Johnson is a classic example of a ‘Talent Multiplier.’ Like Johnson, today’s leaders must invite and support everyone to think and play big.
Are you a Talent Multiplier or Diminisher?
The role of a ‘Talent Multiplier’ gains increasing relevance in the modern workplace where open, collaborative cultures replace traditional hierarchies. Gone are the days when leaders could direct orders and instructions to their teams and sit back for others to do all the work.
The role of a ‘Talent Multiplier’ gains increasing relevance in the modern workplace where open, collaborative cultures replace traditional hierarchies. Gone are the days when leaders could direct orders and instructions to their teams and sit back for others to do all the work.
If you are a ‘Talent Multiplier’ leader, you know how to tap into your team’s creative and collective intelligence. You know how to dig beneath, ask the right questions, and understand the problem first before identifying the solutions.
If you are a talent diminisher who saps your employees’ talent, motivation, and potential, you are setting up your organization for trouble. Diminishers usually tend to be micromanagers and grab credit for themselves.
It’s a bad strategy to be a talent diminisher as you create a toxic culture where employees feel exploited, undervalued, and demotivated. You become a repellant for exceptional talent.
People leave their bosses and not an organization. Those who work under talent diminishers call it a frustrating, physically, and emotionally draining experience. This kind of leadership approach, which tries to get the most out of people without giving back fair reciprocation in recognition and compensation, is at odds with what the next-gen of employees seek at work.
How to be a Talent Multiplier with the “Four-Way Win” model
Do you desire to be a talent multiplier who inspires people around you to perform better and become happier?
If yes, then your solution is the “Four-Way Win” model by Stew Friedman, author of the bestselling book “Total Leadership.”
Friedman dispels the myth that leaders who encourage and support their employees’ goals are idealistic, soft, and ineffective. In his research findings of the prototype of his model at a Fortune 50 company in 2000, he proved that $5.8 million in costs saved, $0.7 million in new revenue earned, and $0.5 million in productivity gained.
Since then, Friedman has worked extensively with several top organizations worldwide in various sectors with his proven “Four-Way Win” model.
The “Four-Way Win” model proposes to create success across the four areas in our lives which matter the most—
  • Our work
  • Our community
  • Our family
  • Our personal life
Each of the above four areas of life is interlinked, and success found in one domain creates a ripple success effect in the other areas.
The model offers you a clear framework on how to be a talent multiplier. You might find it challenging at first to implement the model in your team.
Friedman provides another solution to make the transition process a smoother experience for you.
He suggests—

Iterate → Test → Fail (perhaps) → Test again → Optimize
Friedman asks leaders like you to conduct experiments in your team where you engage with your employees to understand their goals in the four areas of their lives.
Once you gain a deeper insight into your team members, you can encourage them to start working on a previously neglected area. It could be their health, and you could support them in getting them back on track with their wellness goals.
The experiment may not work initially and even fail miserably. But it would help if you persisted in these experiments till you create a “win-win” situation in all four areas for your team as small changes in one domain have a ripple effect in the other domains, too.
The top two reasons people leave an organization are better work-life balance and work culture. The next on the list were higher compensation and more challenging assignments.
As a ‘Talent Multiplier’ leader, you aim to align the organisation’s goals to your employees’ intrinsic motivations, thereby creating a “win-win” situation for all.
Final Thoughts
A dictatorial approach to leadership that commands everyone to put in more hours at all costs where they are squeezed until nothing’s left is detrimental for the employees and organization.
It’s the reason countries like Japan are seeing a tectonic shift in work attitudes and culture as it’s pushing for a four-day workweek.
Similarly, many of the biggest companies are prioritizing work/life balance today without having planned for it at the start. If more companies changed their rigid leadership style and started investing in their employees’ intrinsic motivations, they will attract and retain the best talent organically.
A ‘Talent Multiplier’ leader is the competitive advantage of a successful new-age organisation.

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