Chapter 6New Rules for Building a Leadership Team

A few years ago, we were working with a client who was running a large call center in Charlotte, North Carolina. At that center was a manager named Leon. When we first started working with this client, Leon was the manager of a day shift. His employees regarded him highly, and his team performed exceedingly well on all measures. Then something changed for him—there’s that old, reliable change coming back again. Leon decided that he wanted to go back to school to get a degree, and the only way to do that would be to switch to an evening shift so he would have enough time during the day to attend his classes.

Now, completely switching a work schedule is a big, often uncomfortable change for most people, to say nothing of switching teams. Not many people would volunteer to make such a dramatic change. But when Leon announced his decision to move to an evening shift, nine of his fifteen team members went with him. That’s nine people who valued Leon’s spectacular leadership to the point where they were willing to literally turn their working lives upside down just to stay with him.

Obviously, Leon scored quite highly on the Leader Engagement Index. He is the perfect example of how responsibility and accountability for retaining talent needs to move out from the HR department and into the front lines. As we have discussed, competitive pay, benefits, and team-building programs, while helpful, are no longer enough to keep workers from ...

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