Differentiated Leadership: Tools to Use Today

Nicolle Ketcham, Senior Marketing Coordinator, McCarthy Building Companies

Dr. Deidrea Stevens, CEO of IMPACT, discusses the importance of good leadership, the impact it has on a company, and provides tools that leaders, with or without direct reports, can use immediately.

Dallas is home to hundreds of industries and thousands of businesses, but one thing they all have in common is people. We need thoughtful and effective leaders to support and empower people at all levels within our organizations.

Why is good leadership important? Hint: It impacts your bottom line.

Dr. Deidrea Stevens, CEO of IMPACT, began the interactive session with a discussion on the importance of investing in your people. For those not working in HR, we can often forget how much turnover costs impact a company’s bottom line. Stevens provided a spreadsheet that allowed us to plug in the variables for any given position, and the formulas would show the cost to replace that position. The real cost of replacing an employee includes more than just salary; it is the advertising, interviewing, screening, hiring, on-boarding, training time, and more – which amounts to thousands of dollars. (I’ll now take a moment to thank the often overlooked hardworking people of HR across the Dallas Region for the hard work they do – thank you!)

Want to see organizational change? It comes from within, and it is driven by your people.

One eye-opening statistic Stevens presented was that every person within your company talks to 6–8 people on a regular basis. That means 10 people unhappy with your organization are getting the word out to 60–80 individuals. Reality is the perception of how the people within your organization view your business. Just because the leader of your organization sends out a message a message to staff does not mean that the people within your organization have bought into that messaging. If you want to see organizational change, it starts with the people that make your day-to-day business happen. By understanding your people, you’re better able to support them, make them feel heard, and create organizational change from within.

Now I’m sure you’re asking, “How do I understand my people?”

Stevens gave tactical tools to better understand your team, and it all starts with asking questions. By listening to understand – not just respond – you can gain a deeper understanding of your team and adjust your leadership style to meet their needs.

      • Question 1: What are your strengths?
      • Question 2: What are your areas of growth?
      • Question 3: What are some things the company does well?
      • Question 4: If you were in charge for a day, what would you change?

These questions will help you better understand your rock stars who want to jump in and make a positi­­ve impact on the company.

What if I don’t have any direct reports?

While I personally do not have any direct reports, I am often organizing and leading large groups of people for various projects. I found myself wondering, “Is this even something I can do?” Absolutely. Stevens recommended using these same tools for discussion with your project teams or department to better understand how they operate and how you can support your co-workers.

Building a Better Dallas

As one of the country’s leading business hubs, the Dallas Region continues to steadily grow through the addition of jobs, new businesses, and the expansion of established businesses. In order to continue being a global leader for businesses, we need to ensure we’re helping those businesses succeed from the inside out. That starts by empowering leaders, which leads to happier employees and results in better business.