Three Leadership Essentials to Retain Your Top Talent

We all know there are foundational grammar rules such as “I” before “E” except after “C.” But when it comes to cohesion, there is a basic rule that involves the letters “I,” “M,” and “E.” 

When leaders use this rule, it directly impacts the organization’s culture. In order to understand how this rule applies, first, it’s necessary to review the definition of leadership:

“Leadership is the ability to motivate, influence and enable others to accomplish something they may not have thought was possible on their own.”

Keeping one’s eye on the pulse of the organization positions the leader’s perspective to offer advice and constructive commentary to create a Cohesion Culture™.  Establishing cohesion within highly functional teams involves creating a sense of belonging, feelings of value and purpose, and giving people opportunities for achievement through committed activities.

Organizational leaders, by nature of their position alone, impact the creation and sustainability of a culture of cohesion. They are responsible for setting the tone of the organization and have an important role in shaping and sustaining culture. Through various interactions with employees, leaders assert influence through methods of motivation and activities associated with enabling others. In other words, they put the “I” between “M and E”—all of this comes before “C,” as in Cohesion.

How the leader puts the “I” between “M and E”?

“M”otivating, “i”nfluencing, and “e”nabling others is essential, if not the first step, in the success of creating a culture of cohesion. Here are the three elements within the leadership definition that are essential in working with others.

MOTIVATE: As a first stage of creating a Cohesion Culture™, leaders motivate others. Motivation requires the use of words and actions to bring about a mindset that moves an individual toward achievement. Leaders stimulate dialogue and activities in an attempt to start, change, or rejuvenate an idea, value, or action that relates to a successful outcome. When a leader is effective in their method of motivation, the result is that they successfully connect and align each other’s values, beliefs, and attitudes. 

INFLUENCE: Influence is the level of power, suggestion, or persuasion one individual can assert on another. Leaders specifically weld two types of power: institutional or personal. 

Institutional power occurs when an individual is recognized as an authority and those around her are impacted by that individual because of their position of “power.” In these instances, the leader’s influence is more forceful, with minimal opportunity for others to contribute or to challenge the authority. Of course, there are situations when applying institutional power is necessary; however, it is incumbent upon the leader to understand when and how this type of influence should be used in order for it to be helpful vs. harmful.

“May you find peace in all you do and honor in how you act.”

When leaders use “personal power,” they attempt to connect meaning and purpose to what others do. Leaders influence others to follow their lead. They encourage others to accomplish a task or change a mindset because it is the right thing to do, not because the leader is asserting authority. When leaders are successful in using personal power, quite often the feeling of being valued vs. taken for granted is established between the leader and the follower. Using influence in a manner of suggestion or persuasion connects others to their purpose and meaning through self-discovery.

ENABLE: Enabling is the ability to command resources and remove barriers for others to follow through on commitments and goals. Leaders enable others by providing continuous feedback and support, offering trusted and safe environments, and demonstrating a commitment to helping others achieve success. When leaders enable others, they are creating an environment that allows employees to achieve success and demonstrate a commitment to goals and objectives. Leaders who enable others to accomplish personal goals first, then move toward achieving desired organizational outcomes, assert transformative influence through the enabling process.

How would you define leadership? Are you motivating, influencing, and enabling others to reach their highest potential? I would love to hear more about what strategies you use with your leadership teams in the comments below.  

To learn more about the leadership values that can positively impact your team and create a Cohesion Culture™️, connect with Dr. Troy here.


Dr. Troy Hall is the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, a $1.8B financial cooperative with over 165,000 members. With a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Troy has earned the designation as an International Development Educator. As the author of Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent, his book showcases how and why South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Places To Work” by Glassdoor, the Credit Union Industry, and State of South Carolina.

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