The power of a people strategy and transformational leadership

When Natalie started a new role leading a critical branch of her organisation, she knew she had to create a people strategy. Staff turnover was through the roof and employee engagement was low and it was costing them a high price. She grappled with her self-doubts about her lack of experience and expertise in strategy, especially in the realm of people management. Her vision was clear — to foster a high-performing team who could influence executive decisions and improve employee engagement. She knew this wouldn’t be easy.

Natalie understood she needed to step up her leadership skills and build her credibility with the team which led to her taking on an executive coaching program. It started with her confronting a crucial transition from being a hands-on manager to stepping back and empowering her staff to navigate challenges. But achieving this shift not only boosted team morale, it also allowed Natalie to focus on the broader people strategy, rather than getting bogged down with operational tasks.

However, the light bulb moment for her was the realisation she couldn’t develop a people strategy unless she involved the very people who were affected. It was quite a relief to appreciate she didn’t need to have all the answers! The first part of her strategy process began with a ‘pulse survey’ designed to understand the team’s hot buttons. She kept the communication lines open by validating the findings and emerging themes with staff through various forums. The sessions focused not only on testing people’s emerging themes but also understanding her team’s priorities. It was an impressive demonstration of the power of listening before leaping to solutions.

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Habit 5: Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Natalie saw tangible results emerge from the people strategy. Turnover decreased, and the organisation’s pulse survey results showed a significant uptick in employee engagement and job satisfaction. Her team became an authority in their own right, influencing the strategic agenda and driving positive change within the organisation.

Natalie’s story underscores the transformative power of stepping up her own leadership before expecting her team to lift their game. By investing in her own development and empowering her team, she not only achieved her goals but also created a culture of success and innovation within her organisation.

🙋 What is your experience of what it takes to foster a high-performing team? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian