Paul Gough

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Keep Showing Up For Your Team To Keep Your A-List Staff Onside

From the desk of Luke Hockborn, head of recruiting. 

Let’s flip the script from finding great people to retaining great people. In business, we place too much weight one way or the other without finding that sweet spot. It is up to you to keep showing up for your team to keep your A-list staff onside.

No doubt it’s difficult, because managing people is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do in business, and similarly recruiting took a step up in 2022. You have so many variables and outside influences that no 2 days are the same. 

I’ve always been a huge advocate of people management and it really is one of the best tools to support and grow your business. Yet, on the flip side of the coin, it’s probably only been a huge talking point for some since the pandemic hit, and with it a realization that people are the foundation of your business.  

Richard Branson said: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers, It’s that simple.” Now he may have renegaded on that one when Covid hit and he laid off staff aplenty, but the ideals remain the same. YOUR people are the bedrock of what YOU do. They are the ones talking to your clients every day. They are the ones that send those clients away with a smile on their faces and start spreading your name to their friends and families.  

The topic is regularly discussed and typically starts with this: “I don’t want to be a micro-manager, but how do I maintain a good relationship and make sure stuff is getting done?” Keep Showing Up I’ll Tell You!  

Cut back to the first leader (there is a vast difference between leader and manager) I had, and he was a master of this. He knew when to push the button and drive his team forward, and when to lend an ear to his staff. But he critically also knew this. He knew that he had to keep showing up for his staff. And he did every day.  

  • Hey what’s happening? 
  • How was your weekend? 
  • What are you working on? 
  • What can I help you with? 

At first, these phrases may seem nice and simple yet people don’t know how to utilize them to their advantage, and what he realized was every time he asked, it became more normalized when delivered in such a tone that wasn’t direct and less of a demand. 

Instead, it was just a run of general questions like a friend may ask. They broke down that typical manager/employee relationship. It wasn’t micromanagement it was just someone who passed the GAS test.  

It built a foundation of trust, it removed any sentiment of money and that transactional feel.  

What that meant was when he had to turn up the heat, when he needed to have the boots on the ground and knuckle down, to do that little extra, work that little harder, they were all the more willing to do so.  

It’s this kind of leader that I have continuously looked to align myself too. My next leader was the same, and when I was given the opportunity I was sure to do the same for my team!  

The results were undeniable, the bond I built with my team was next level and what I gained in return was a team that would go to bat for me no matter the time or day. When Covid hit my team were the first team back to open up and get back to some sort of normality – not only for us as a team but more importantly for our clients, and I 100% believe this was what drove the success I had in that role for 5 years!  

I witnessed this trait in Paul in the first few weeks inside his world.  

Recently I spoke about how it takes time to build a communication rhythm, to understand what that looks like to be a member of your team, and it’s no truer than with myself and Paul. The first few weeks I remember him coming in: Hey what’s happening? What are you working on?  

I would answer of course, but I was trying to find that rhythm with Paul, fast forward 12 months those are the same two questions he will ask when he is in the office or on the phone. He keeps showing up for his team and no matter the day or time, It’s the same Paul. The same leader that no matter what, I know I can turn to and ask for support, look for advice, and, in turn, when he needs my support, I’m there to provide it.  

That relationship is truly what you are all looking for, and as always it takes time, it takes a conscious effort on your part to keep showing up for your team. Come rain or shine, you maintain that same level; never too low, never too high, just firmly placed in the middle and always being that hearty presence your team requires.  

When someone leaves, great, when someone misses a deadline, great, when someone turns out to be Twin B, great!  

I apply the same levels to almost all situations in my life. I have a firm question in my mind: “Great, what happens next?”   

It keeps me grounded. Allows me to keep moving forward and follows on from a thought I had around a year into my management career. 

Think about this statement: “There has never been a problem too big or small that hasn’t been able to be fixed by someone or something”.  

Basically, for every single problem we have faced in this world, there has always been a solution at the end of the line. Every illness brings a solution, every recession comes a bounce back, and every housing crash comes to a rise. Same for you and me. No problem has ever been insurmountable.  

So keep showing up for your team, keep playing in the middle third of your emotions and you’ll build a team that can take on anything you place in front of it! 

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