Jeff Fox develops leaders at Source4Teachers by starting with the right hires

 

Retaining existing employees

Once you have the right people on-board, you need to ensure they stay with the business as they grow in their career.

One of Fox’s biggest personal challenges has been stepping back to let them learn.

“I have to subjugate my ego and my natural urge to take charge and jump in,” he says, “to allow them to work through the problem — work it through, make the decisions and be the face of the organization.”

Fox says business leaders need to have the ability to sit back and ask: How critical is this mistake, and how much will the employee get from it?

For example, Fox says his staff was creating system designs as far as putting in Source4Teachers’ processes. Having experience in this area, he could see it was on the verge of failing.

He waited, however, until they came to him for advice, so everyone could work together to redesign the process and go forward, which helped his staff become better managers.

In addition, leadership has to make sure employees understand their value, even if they aren’t running a department or able to handle a huge job. Part of that is making them feel like a part of the organization through development processes and training programs.

 

Manage your talent, including the superstars

There are so many pieces to creating a successful company that you absolutely must get the right leadership team on-board. Building a strong management team takes time and effort.

Often, a company will promote a superstar performer into a managerial position, and then executives wonder why that performer is not doing as well as he or she should.

Fox says the problem is that you’ve taken that superstar performer away from the team. As a manager, the performer doesn’t have the support the previous manager did.

“That can be very devastating — making that kind of mistake,” he says.

If your superstar isn’t doing the job, it’s very difficult to demote them. They lose face.

“You end up losing your superstar and the manager, so you have nobody really helping out in this process,” Fox says

A better way to strengthen the organization is to bring in somebody from the outside and still keep that superstar player as No. 2 within the company or department.

“The challenge is making sure one, I find a manager who is significantly better than the superstar player and two, being in a situation of communication, education and other types of encouragement to make sure that superstar player stays within the organization and recognizes that next time as their skill set grows, there are other opportunities for them in the organization,” Fox says.

It’s also a good idea to sit down with your senior management team and evaluate and talk about people, including what skills they need to learn.

This is a good way to develop your talent because another department head might covet somebody in another department. Fox says this review process gives employees added chances to learn new skills, while you also get a more accurate assessment of employees.