All too often, I have encountered people in leadership that walk around with this air about them. They are too good for you to stand next to. You ought not to breathe their air; for good measure just stop breathing when they are around. As a matter of fact, be sure not to speak to them unless instructed to.
What do I think about all of this?
Plainly, it’s a load of crap and businesses need to redefine or get clear on what leadership means. Leadership is not about putting on appearances or a power trip. It is a necessary and crucial role in the organization that offers visionary and practical guidance and administration over a particular portion of the business.
Your ego and assumed celebrity as a leader is not a license to misuse the autonomy and power you have over your employees. Your job is to guide more than lead; listen more than you speak. In short, be humble and get over yourself.
Engagement is so 2012.
When you foster an environment, where employees don’t feel empowered or respected you are building up to disastrous results. Never mind whether these two variables lead to a disengaged workforce. Forget that! Engagement is the least of your worries when employees feel belittled or not valued. Your biggest concern is the following statistic (which I have shared before), which is that 8 in 10 employees in your organization are prepared or would leave your organization today if they could. The other statistic of interest is half of those employees will be successful in finding comparable work and compensation.
The greatest concern businesses have today is turnover.
As job market confidence improves, these numbers can only increase. At the height of the recession, it was said that companies would benefit in some regard because employees would be less likely to leave given the economic climate. That was true as we saw layoffs increase over quits, but the first month of the recession in December 2007 saw 2.9 million people quitting. As of April 2013, we are down to 2.3 millionpeople quitting just four months into the year. Obviously, there can be many reasons why people have quit their jobs. However, the key is to ensure- to some degree- that it isn’t because of your hierarchy-driven, pompous leaders.
The greatest opportunity businesses have is retention.
A focus on leadership competencies that lead to successful business outcomes rather than haphazard promotion of ill-equipped leaders would be a start in ensuring you have a collaborative, respectful and engaging leadership slate. Encouraging bi-directional communication in place of top-down directives can also go a long way in giving your employees the autonomy in duty and thought that is needed for them to feel empowered. If you were diligent on the recruitment and selection side, you’re not worried about talent shortages- you already have great talent. Now all you need to do is to treat them right and retain them. It is often said people don’t quit jobs-they quit bosses. That being said, it would behoove you to continuously coach, mentor and hone the skills of your leaders.
It doesn’t get much simpler than this people!