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An Appeal to More Selfish Motives (Team Leadership)

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It’s so important to lead your staff well. Not only because they are typically on the front lines of your organization, representing your space to the community, but because your attitude and actions toward them severely affect morale, which either increases or decreases turnover.

It used to be that staff at any organization stayed for quite some time. In our grandparents’ age it was probably for their entire lives, or close to it. Our parents, maybe 5-10 years per company. For us and the generation coming after us, an organization is lucky to get six months to two years out of us.

The reason for this is what I’ll dub “the drive for independence.”

With the advent of the hyper-connected, mobile, guru-itis-infused, technology era, most people just aren’t satisfied working for another person anymore, not unless the conditions are superb.

Your coworking space is likely staffed by millennials, and soon will be staffed by Generation Z (marked by its widespread usage of the internet and internet-enabled mobile devices from a young age). Both of these cohorts are extremely familiar with technology, the Great Recession, and the need for economic independence. Most saw their parents labor hard for years only to be laid off or take a massive cut in their compensation packages, all of which created massive amounts of household stress.

So it should be no surprise that they aren’t willing to take any BS from you (if you’re the employee in this scenario, yes this is where you shout for joy because somebody is advocating for you). Your staff, facing the decision of quitting due to your unseemly behavior and lack of leadership skills, isn’t only comparing this job to a gig with your competition. They’re constantly thinking of cutting ties to the job world altogether and starting their own business, perhaps even another coworking space that’s more fun, more curated, and more desirable than yours. People don’t come with loyalty baked in anymore, it’s something you have to earn.

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You should be vigilant in preventing your staff from leaving. Not only because you’re wasting time and money training new people every year, but because the industry as a whole suffers when it loses good, trained talent to another industry.

You want to make your space the most amazing place to work so that it would, in fact, be insane to quit. You should strive every single day to unlock the creativity and passion in your organization, on every level. You should encourage open communication and transparency. You should quash selfishness and greed. You should build trust. You should create upward or lateral mobility for your staff, so they can follow their passions, take ownership, and create impact. You should lead by example. This is what’s important to your team.

If you do this, not only will you have the best team in the industry, when new competition comes to town your team will stand with you and keep your community intact.

Founder, it all starts with you.

(Note, it also ends with you if you ignore this. Because your team will be gone.)

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