April 8, 2019 |
Training and development is something I view as being important and when I moved the UAE in 2006, I realised there was a need to develop my team and so I started holding training seminars for my assistant managers. After completing the training, one of them received an opportunity to work for another company, which he accepted.
His general manager came to me – let’s call him Sam – in a state of panic, asking that I stop the training seminars. He thought that educating workers would cause them to leave the company.
At first, I thought he was joking. However, it didn’t take long to realise that he strongly believed that if we didn’t develop the team, employees had no chance of advancing their career with other companies.
So I asked him: “Keep them undeveloped and they will not leave you. Is that what you are saying?”
To my surprise, his answer was yes.
I remembered a quote from a very talented leader (Zig Ziglar) which said: The only thing worse than training your employees and losing them is, to not train them and keep them.
I am sharing this story because I am still seeing signs of this type of behaviour. It is appalling how many leaders in our industry think exactly the way Sam did in 2006.
What I see is a total monopoly on information at all levels. If you ask leaders why training and development doesn’t take place, you will never get an honest answer. Instead you will hear variations of sentences like: They are not qualified. I don’t think they will make it more than one year. They lack loyalty. They have a bad attitude. And so on.
I honestly believe that talented leaders in this region believe that teaching others and developing them to a level where they can do their job is a threat to them. They literally feel threatened by workers who show any signs of intelligence or who want to learn and grow.
When that happens, we see how secretive those talented professionals become. They close the doors, lock computers, attend meetings alone, leave the room when negotiating with someone on the phone, never hold training sessions and never ask about other’s aspirations. They become totally unapproachable.
Succession planning does not mean you will lose your job
Succession planning as a practice is non-existent in this region. In all the jobs I have had in this region, I took a month to scout and train my successor. I had enough self-confidence to know that I owed it to the company to train someone in case I decided to leave. The behaviour was motivated by my care for the company, not my arrogance of thinking that I am irreplaceable. In addition, I really enjoy teaching.
How many talented leaders can you find today who even think about succession planning? How many really care about developing others? I would say that the number would be less than 10% of them; they are the true leaders. They are the true talent, not the rest who are only concerned about protecting their own jobs or saving the company money by keeping great performers and potential leaders down.
Let’s go back to the main topic of the series: The lack of talent in the F&B industry in the UAE. Talent does not just happen by accident. Talented people pass on talent. So before complaining about the lack of talent, let us examine what we are doing at our level to grow it?
Let’s not always resort to importing talent from other countries or companies. Let’s grow and nurture it locally. Doing so will not only grow the talent pool here, but it will also build loyalty and deliver tangible results.
In addition, it is only fair that when you are trusted to run a company and you decide to leave, you do not leave the company in total chaos. I know some who are proud that the company collapses when they leave it. True leaders view success as the continued success of the company after they leave. They view the true success as having done all they can to ensure continuity without any disturbance of the business.
Growing and nurturing talent is by far a more satisfying feeling to a true leader than all the money in the world.
My challenge to all the true leaders in our great industry:
I am not bragging, but I am proud of all the industry leaders whom I was instrumental in developing and coaching over the years in the US and in the UAE. I would never trade the feeling of having one of my graduates calling to ask for advice, or to thank me for helping them obtain the knowledge to be a good leader.
If you want to have the same great feeling, I challenge you to start being instrumental in the development of your team. Help them improve their knowledge, get promoted, make more money, and apply all that to improve their lives. In turn, they will do the same, and we will never lack great talent in our region.
Are you up for the challenge?
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