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  • Writer's picturejoel

Be the Leadership Magnet

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

In today's highly competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is a critical objective for organizations aiming for success. The law of magnetism, a concept inspired by the principles of attraction, can be harnessed in the recruitment process by focusing on key aspects such as fair wages, a great culture, work-life balance, paid time off and flexibility, an excellent training program, and a clear pathway to advancement and opportunity. By incorporating these elements, businesses can create an irresistible force that not only draws the best employees but also fosters a committed and motivated workforce.

The Changing Landscape:

The recruiting landscape has changed drastically over the past 10 to 15 years. A couple of decades ago, the purpose of a job interview was to determine if the applicant is worthy of the wonderful opportunity they would certainly experience joining your great company working under such a wise and respected leader. We got to sit back and have the pick of the litter. This may not have been true everywhere, but it certainly was the perspective of many employers. The problem is that this sentiment still exists to some degree today even though the environment and culture has drastically changed.

The old school leadership model of leading with authority worked a couple of decades ago when there were as many or more employees competing for each job. But in today’s culture, leaders that embrace the positional style of leadership, or as John Maxwell would call Level 1 leadership, are finding out that this approach doesn’t have much positive impact or influence in today’s culture.

Leaders who have carried over this approach from the 1990’s only see how the culture has changed around them and tend to see today’s generation as the source of the problem. There may be some truth to that, but I believe that the culture that the younger generation was brought up in is more of the cause and their behavior is merely the effect.

In today’s culture, we find ourselves in quite a different situation. The job market has flipped upside down compared to the past generations. Around the turn of the century the number of jobs seemed to catch up with the demand. Since then, the number of applicants per available job has decreased little by little and with the help of Covid 19, to push it over the edge, we find ourselves in a culture that has more jobs available than we have willing employees to work them.

A Flipped Market:

Leaders are in a precarious position. This is the first generation for quite some time that requires the hiring manager to step outside their comfort zone and go out and find their team. Gone are the days of them lining up to work for you. Now, hiring managers are required to get in line with the other employers to make your appeal to why interested parties should work for you. Like it or not, that is where we are.

Common practices in our current generation come as a bit of a shock to older leaders. Some of the social and professional behavior seems very strange and even irresponsible. There has been a change in paradigm and if we don’t adjust to the new culture, we may find ourselves beating our head against a wall trying to change a culture back to the way it was. That’s not going to happen anytime soon. Or ever.

Let me try to help set the current scene. Current job seekers or job hoppers have more choices than ever due to there being less of them. In addition, as the number of job seekers has decreased, so has the number of leaders, yet the number of jobs available is still strong. Consider the lower number of people in the workforce along with the lower level of leadership and you will begin to see the picture. The lowering of the tide lowers all boats. Between younger leaders developing under a less productive worldview and the older leaders failing to pivot to a better method of leadership, quality employment opportunities have decreased. It seems to me like Gen X and Gen Z are at odds with each other and the millennials are caught in the middle of the disconnect.

Depreciation of Leadership:

As I look across most industries, or at least blue-collar industries, I see a depreciation of leadership at most levels of management. It doesn’t take a statistician or market genius to walk into any big box store, restaurant, convenient store, or any retail establishment and notice a significant decrease in customer service, work ethic, professionalism, and appearance compared to a couple of decades ago. I suspect this applies in most every industry.

I was at a restaurant a few weeks ago overhearing a group of 3 or 4 employees talking about their lives outside of work. They were dropping F-bombs and talking about very inappropriate topics within ear space of several customers and seemed to put the needs of their customers on hold while they took their spontaneous group paid break. I noticed a couple of other customers that were a bit annoyed as they were looking to get refills for their drinks and their server to bring them the check. I am not sure if this is due to a lack of social awareness, but I suspect that it is as much a factor of adjusted social norms. It just simply is normal to talk with no filter around anyone at any time and work on their own terms. What was once sacred and taboo, has become a free -or-all of freedom and entitlement of expression and action.

If this were an isolated incident, I would have been more shocked, but it happens all over the place. Back when I was in my teens working in the industry, this would never fly, even if I worked for the competition. There are social norms that have not only been crossed but left to die.

The Pareto Principle:

Some call this principle the 80/20 rule. It says, as it relates to the modern job market, that 80% of the top applicants will choose to work for the top 20% of leaders. We all want to work for a leader greater than us. If jobseekers want to be a great leader and make the most of all their opportunities, they will search for the best leaders that provide a great culture and opportunities to work for. If they are lazy and just want to do as little as required to trade time for money, they will look for a leader that requires the least from Them. If they want to take advantage of people, they will look for fools and weak leaders to work for. They will always be more attracted to those who they most resemble.

All leaders are fighting over the most qualified applicants but only the exceptional leaders (top 20%), really have a realistic chance of attracting them. This means that if you are not one of the exceptional leaders you will be one of the mediocre leaders (bottom 80%) left competing for the bottom 20% of the applicant pool. The leftovers will be your market and the unemployable will consume your interviews. A scarcity mentality will begin to consume you and you will feel like you have no control over your staffing efforts.

Some determine who they are which determines who they get. Others settle for who they are and settle for who they get. That is the difference between the exceptional and the mediocre.

There is a significant difference between how the top 20% operate versus the rest of the pack.

Identity Design:

The universal principle also known as The Law of Attraction, says that people are drawn to leaders that best meet their needs. This means that you are fully in control of who decides to come work for you. The only catch is that it is 100% on your shoulders to become the person they wish to work for.


  • If you want to HAVE something you have never had, you must DO something you’ve never done.

  • If you want to DO something you have never done, you must BE someone you have never been.

  • If you want to BE someone you have never been, you must SEE things you have never seen.

  • If you want to SEE things you have never seen, you must look beyond the ME you have always been.

If you wish to HAVE the best staff, you must be able to DO what attracts the best people. These are the skills needed to develop and behaviors needed to be modified to DO better things. To DO what attracts the best people, you need to BE someone, or become one who automatically does those things because it is who you have become. It’s not about quoting the right message or mission statements to paint a desired impression on others. There needs to be a transformation of who you are at the core. Becoming someone, you have never been, cannot happen until you are able to SEE and embrace an entirely different perspective.

Real change of this magnitude doesn’t just come from creating new habits. It requires a paradigm shift in your thinking and understanding of who you are and your purpose for being here. It also requires you to see a vision of a greater YOU. You must look beyond who you currently are and embrace the challenge of becoming an empowered, new YOU. This is the YOU that a desperate generation is looking to follow out of their culture of chaos.

Until you become more, you will never attract more. Become the magnet that attracts magnets! Or sit back and watch the real magnets eat your lunch and take all the good people away from you.

The 5 Things Every Employee Needs from Their Leader:

Once you have a magnetic culture with values that meet the needs of your employees. The word will get out, your employees, customers and other constituents will talk about your work culture and others will want to work there.

1. Appreciation - There is no worse feeling than to put your blood sweat and tears into something to help someone or a group of people accomplish something, only to be dismissed without being noticed. Employees need to be appreciated and respected by their leaders. It’s not enough to simply acknowledge or recognize someone for a job well done or meeting a goal. It goes beyond that.

When relationships are not nurtured by a sense of appreciation, the results are predictable:

  • Team members will experience a lack of connectedness​.

  • Workers will tend to become discouraged​.

  • Employees will begin to complain about their work, ​their colleagues, and their supervisor.​

  • Team members start to think seriously about ​leaving the organization.

Recognition focuses on performance. Appreciation speaks not only to the performance, but also to their value as a person and what they bring to the team. It communicates a valued connection that you see in them. Very little does more for a person’s self-image than to be fully appreciated by someone they admire and respect.

People will seldom appreciate you any more than you appreciate them.

Coaching Questions:

· Do you see the greatness in people more often than you see their shortcomings?

· Are you aware of how your words of encouragement and criticism affect your people?

· Do you find out if they truly do feel appreciated, or just assume?

2. Clarity – Employees need to know exactly what is expected of them from their leader. When we don’t know the desired outcome or the target, we enter a state of uncertainty leading to confusion. As humans we don’t like uncertainty and will go to great lengths to avoid it feeling that way, especially if jumping ship is easy to do when things become too uncertain.

Leaders who understand that people are not to be managed, rather systems are to be managed, are on their way to a brighter future. People are to be led to the systems that make everyone’s job easier and more effective. Understanding the systems is essential for every member of the team.

You can tell someone what they should do or show them a system and explain the benefits of using it. People are more likely to follow a system they understand, than a command they don’t.

Coaching Questions:

· Are you aware of what your employees typically are unclear about?

· Are you willing to take the necessary steps to remove these uncertainties?

· Do they know and feel comfortable approaching you with questions?

3. Trust – Employees need to be trusted by their leaders and be able to trust their leaders. If either of these is absent or lacking, the other will surely follow. What they really need is to be able to trust their supervisor and know that they have their back when things get rough. They need to know they will not be stranded and that their needs are important. They need to know that when they have questions or problems, there is someone they can count on to help guide them to solutions.

Character plays a big part in any relationship built on trust. Credibility is developed over time by a consistent display of integrity. Integrity comes from foundational beliefs based on principles anchored in the truth that everyone matters.

Coaching Questions:

· Can people trust that you are not embellishing the story for effect?

· Can they trust that you will do what you say you would do without excuses?

· Do they know for certain that you have their back?

4. Significance – Employee’s desire to be a part of something significant, something that is meaningful to them that makes a difference. They want to know that their efforts aren’t just going towards a few at the top of a company to simply enhance their power and lifestyle. Deep down, our self-image is based on how we think of ourselves as well as what we are striving to achieve.

The 3 Bricklayers – “One day in 1671, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold, one crouched, one half-standing and one standing tall, working very hard and fast. To the first bricklayer, Christopher Wren asked the question, “What are you doing?” to which the bricklayer replied, “I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.” The second bricklayer responded, “I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.” But the third brick layer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, when asked the question, “What are you doing?” replied with a gleam in his eye, “I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.”

Coaching Questions:

· For each of your employees, do you know what they desire to achieve in their work? In their life?

· Do you focus on the "why" of a task more than the "what" or "how"?

· Is your team interested in building the same thing you are? If not, how can you influence them to buy in?

5. Empowerment – Employees want to work for someone who is going to see them for what they are truly capable of. They are desperately looking for a guide to help them get to their next level. No one can reach their best without someone investing in them, supporting them, and believing in them.

Empowerment is quite different from delegation. Delegation deals with what needs to be done to complete the task. Empowerment addresses who you must become to be able to complete the task. One is based on obedience, the other growth and development.

An empowered individual is one that has been believed in, invested in, and built up to be one worthy of the task. An empowered individual is confident, has the right strategy, is authorized, and licensed to take on the challenge. While delegation is about the task, empowerment is about the taskmaster.

Magnetic Leaders:

I have mentioned the following to several people over the years. Sometimes it has not been received well. I suspect that believing it makes it difficult to blame external circumstances and face up to personal leadership shortcomings.

There are certain people out there that are simply great at staffing a team. Wherever they go they always attract better people and retain better people. They weren’t necessarily born with a unique talent to attract people. It’s more likely that they worked hard to develop their character and leadership skills. No matter the local job trends or unemployment rate, these leaders will establish a quality team in a relatively short amount of time compared to others. Wherever they go they leave a wake of superior teams. They are magnetic leaders, and they create their own opportunities. They don't stay stuck, they rise above.

Magnetic leaders are the glue that holds everything together. They are honest, hardworking people who care about their team. Some are outspoken, others soft spoken. They may be charismatic or stoic. They come in all different sizes, shapes, colors, ages, and levels of intellect. They understand how to cast a vision that motivates their people to become the best they can be. Magnetic leaders are not dependent on anyone, yet they don’t work independently of the organization. Magnetic Leaders understand the importance of inter-dependence and they attract others to join them in that sphere.

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Zigler

If you want to have the best staff, you must be the best leader. We are competing for the best people. Sometimes you don’t even have to be the greatest leader to have an excellent staff. You just need to be a step above all the underperforming managers out there. There lies our opportunity. The Mediocre Managers have set the bar low. We need to decide to rise above the level of mediocrity.

Opportunity Knocks:

This leads me to the topic of opportunity. People believe that our current job market is the most difficult in decades. That’s only because they want to reap what they have not sown. We have the best opportunity to create a magnetic staff than ever before. We need to be better at leading people, provide a better place for the better people to go. When we do, people will follow.

If you are an individual wanting to move up the company ladder, the bar has never been lower. I believe that anyone with a desire to break out of the current cultural norms that bind most and develop a higher level of leadership has never had it easier. You must be willing to rise above the level of mediocrity. That will never happen as long as leaders keep looking at the current level of leadership as their north star.

There is such a deficiency of young leadership in our modern culture, that opportunity is everywhere! There are so few business owners that take the time to pull their head out of their own self-made mess. Our industries are screaming out for responsible, accountable, driven self-directed leaders. The path to become a millionaire in the service industry has never been greater! I know, you bring up the competitive nature of the industry, but is it really that competitive with most striving for mediocrity and mere survival?

We as business owners must wake up and see the opportunity and not keep focusing on the culture as the problem and at the same time only compete with it. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many great companies out there with great leadership standing out from the crowd. There are just very few companies wanting to do what is required to be one of them.

I have discovered there is a big difference between magnetic leaders and the rest of the pack when it comes to potential team members following through in the journey from job seekers to full blown energetic team members that stick around. Along the way are several pivotal moments that if we don’t get right our chances of losing them increases.

The Onboarding Obstacle Course:

The leaders that have the best answers to the following questions are the ones that win the best candidates. Like ninja’s working their way through the obstacle course, there are several potential hang-ups that may cause you to falter. At any stage you may lose your candidate if you are not able to work each step of the course better than your competition.

1. How will potential employees hear about your company?

2. Who are your recruiting agents and what do they have to gain from new recruits?

3. What will be attractive about the invitation to come interview with you?

4. How badly do you desire to interview good candidates and what steps are you willing to take?

5. How quickly will they get a response and an interview? How personal will the invitation be?

6. What do they need to hear from you during the interview that will intrigue them and want to choose you over the other companies they have applied for?

7. If they do accept a position with you, what do they need to experience during the orientation process to say no to the 1 or 2 other offers they have likely been offered since they accepted your offer.

8. During the orientation, what will make them look forward to their first day?

9. How much communication will they need from you to stay engaged from the moment they accept the position going forward?

10. Do they know specifically what the first few weeks of training will look like and the method of tracking their steps and progress?

11.Once they start training, what will they need to experience to keep them engaged and from jumping ship?

12. Who will be the person(coach) that will make the trust connection with the new hire to ensure an enjoyable experience going forward?

13. What systems are you willing to put in place to oil this pipeline from start to finish?

Selling Yourself & Your Company:

About 12 to 15 years ago I started noticing a trend in our company. As I got better at the skill of interviewing and connecting, I began to learn the techniques that led to better responses and a greater connection between myself and the prospective new hire. When I really started to lean in and focus on learning what people are really looking for in a place to work, my recruiting practices became more successful. As our company developed and my personal leadership skills grew, my ability to intentionally seek to attract candidates grew. In time I started to see a few of my top managers starting to get similar results as we all were working on developing this skill together. I also noticed that we would always have a couple of our leaders that were not seeing better results. Upon closer observation and through the coaching experience and closely monitoring the quality of staffs in each store, it became clear that there were just some leaders that either did not choose to develop these skills or did not have the foundational giftedness required to get over this hurdle. There were also a few that I promoted too quickly or before they displayed a growth mindset, an abundant mentality, an internal locus of control or intrinsic motivation to be a magnet. I was determined to learn from each of my mistakes and from my team. We were on a mission to create a magnetic culture and we had some clues on what to become and look for in the future.

Unique Staffing Proposition:

In the world of leadership, specifically in the arena of sales and marketing, there is a term Unique Selling Proposition otherwise known as a USP. I have stolen this idea and use the term Unique Staffing Proposition.

In the sales and marketing world a USP is a term that describes what sets you apart from your competitors. What good or service do you provide that goes above and beyond your competitors? In the competitive world of pizza, there are many pizza chains out there that make their pizza from scratch or nearly from scratch, bake it and deliver it to your door. They are in stiff competition with many other chains.

Papa Murphy’s Pizza has a very defined USP. We make our pizzas from scratch with the best ingredients much like a few other chains, however we have a distinct difference that sets us apart. We are Take-n-Bake. Our pizzas are not cooked until you cook them in your own oven. Our customers never complain about our pizza showing up to their house less than hot. They expect it. Our customers CAN burn their mouth on our pizza if they are not careful. That is not something delivery companies can boast about. It’s our USP.

By having a Unique Selling Proposition, companies can be connected to a popular and secure market but having one or two USP’s that set them apart, they can own a sub-market of demand and separate themselves from the pack.

The same goes for staffing your business. You can choose to compete with everyone else by offering “competitive pay”, with the same flexibility of scheduling, similar benefits, and the same cultural experience in a mediocre copycat environment. You can use the same recruiting tactics, the same interview questions and even promise more than you can deliver just like your competition does. Or you can figure out what you do better than anyone else and scream it from the rooftops. You can develop your own Unique Staffing Proposition that sets you apart from the pack. It can be exceptional pay and benefits. It may be your family friendly values that allow for plenty of time off and other benefits. You may have a passion for solving a specific problem in the world that aligns with other people’s passions and personal values. It could be your reputation of excellence sustained over many years that attracts people to you. One thing is for sure, if you compete with the bottom 80%, you are guaranteed to blend in with them.

My Unique Staffing Proposition:

Our company has developed our Unique Selling Proposition over the years. Leadership development has been our focus from the beginning, starting back in 2004 when we opened our first location. At first, we didn’t really stand out much from the crowd. In fact, we blended in with the mediocre quite well for a few years. We didn’t really have a grip on operations or know our targeted expenses. Our recruiting practices were pedestrian until our focus on leadership began to get some traction.

After several years it became clear that my USP for the company was our leadership culture. I am proud of the excellent team of leaders we have. As I speak, we have over 75 years of General Manager or more experience in our company. We have a senior leadership team that loves the company, loves our customers and more than anything loves to serve and develop their people. They fully understand how their actions contribute to helping young up and coming leaders grow their skills. We have seen many lives change over the years and helped many find their way to a rewarding career.

The impact that our leaders have had on their team members is indeed unique and clearly stands out from the competition. It is what I am most proud of in our company. I truly love my team and stand behind them fully, and I know they feel the same about me, their employees, our company, and customers. We have all had the opportunity to prove that time and time again with each other working together through difficult and rewarding times. We tell prospects about our culture of inter-dependence and leadership. We started our own leadership academy and use this to promote our company. I can’t think of a better USP.

How many companies can claim that if you come to work for our company as a manager, you will receive professional coaching from a professional business coach monthly? In addition, they will spend 30 minutes per week with a qualified senior leader with 12 to 20 years of experience. My senior leaders have become excellent problem solvers. They had seen just about everything. Any manager coming into our company is in good hands with any of my senior leaders, but they get them all because it is a team effort with trust and leadership at the core. Did I mention how proud I am of my team?

If you want to be mediocre at best and compete with the bottom 80%, that’s simple, just do what comes naturally. If you want to be exceptional and rise to the top 20% you need to go beyond what comes naturally and embrace something on a new level that stands out amongst the rest. It will require more from you, something that the other guys are not willing to do. You will be required to pay the full price up front, but the payout is remarkably worth it. That is what will set you apart. So, what is your USP?

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Joel Smith 319-930-10454

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