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How to Differentiate Yourself as a Leader

How to Differentiate Yourself as a Leader

Five steps to developing a strategy to excel in increasing productivity, retaining talent and recruiting those who will be a good fit

In today's challenging environment, most managers and executives are desperately trying to excel in three areas: increasing productivity, retaining talent and recruiting those who will be a good fit. Despite the ongoing need for focus in each of these areas, most people have no long-term strategy to ensure success.

The most effective strategy is to become known for how you intentionally develop those on your team. If you differentiate yourself by truly becoming a master people developer, your recruiting, retention and productivity will greatly improve. I'm sure you are assessing your own abilities and past efforts as you read the opening sentences of this article. I will give you credit for already doing some intentional people development, but most would have to admit it is not being done in a proven, intentional way.

In order to really set yourself apart from your competition, you must be skilled at executing and articulating the strategies you employ that make you better than the rest

Most leaders succeed in building their teams by mentoring them, not coaching them. The difference is that these successful individual contributors, now managers and executives, share their insights and solutions with teammates when a crisis hits. They always seem to have the knowledge required to help others get out of a bind. As mentors, their past experiences help their teammates find the right solutions. This is a very common attribute found in many good managers and executives. But does it really differentiate them? Does it really make them unique and highly sought out? It has not proven to be enough to give these leaders an advantage when it comes to retaining or attracting top talent.

Building Champions coach Bill Hart calls this advantage your ULP, or Unique Leadership Proposition. The concept is that in order to really set yourself apart from your competition, you must be skilled at executing and articulating the strategies you employ that make you better than the rest. So as a leader, what is it that sets you apart? I'll walk you through an easy-to-implement set of steps that will do just that — set you apart and make being a Coaching Leader your ULP.

But first you must understand and believe the following: Most people do not leave their companies — they leave their leaders. Countless employee surveys have been done, and the results continue to pin the majority of retention challenges on the employee's direct supervisor, not the company's structure, systems, pricing, compensation or lack of products. Building and retaining a champion team is about how intentional and skilled you are at leading and growing each of your team members. What we have seen is that by improving how you coach, your culture, leadership effectiveness and overall results will improve.

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