It has been said many times in a variety of ways and deserves repeating here: people never connect to the organization’s mission and vision until they first connect with their leader. Influential leaders are leaders (with or without a formal title or role) who possess the mind and behaviour habits that create positive and energized emotions within themselves and around them. Influential leaders demonstrate four vital strengths that ensure their success: the drive to achieve results, the ability to take initiative and accept personal responsibility, cultivating collaboration and team building, and finally, the ability to connect with people continually. Organizations do not do things, people do. People do things better when they are connected emotionally to the mission and vision of the organization and to its leadership.
Then these people come to work with high degree of energy to invest themselves in fulfilling the primary performance objectives of the organization – in a word, they are engaged.
Take note that of these four vital strengths, none of them is technical in nature. They are all behaviour oriented performance strengths. That means any person can learn them, apply them, continually adjust them, and ultimately succeed with them. “Creating and maintaining an effective culture of commitment and engagement takes effort from leaders who work closely with employees, and that’s too often being neglected. In The Conference Board’s study, 51 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their boss. That’s down from 55 percent in 2008 and around 60 percent two decades ago.” If you do not think that leader behaviour is the most important predictor to organizational performance you better start thinking again. Decades of research by Gallup suggest that highly effective leaders connect with their teams on several levels. By creating highly effective relationships with their staff, they promote a healthy and positive work atmosphere in which people feel trust, compassion, safety, and hope.
Teamwork Drives Organizational Performance
Influential leaders know how to create and sustain highly functional teams. Team building is the product of understanding human behaviour not technical skill. Influential leaders focus on behaviour skill competencies that allow technical skills to blend into a high level of workplace performance. This workplace performance translates into safety, quality, and service outcomes. Nonetheless, a national poll of workers in the United States by The Conference Board
found that 45 percent reported being satisfied with their work while the remaining number admitted to withholding discretionary performance effort. This is the lowest level of work satisfaction reported in twenty years. Translated this means the current work force does as little work as possible to avoid losing their jobs – they are disengaged.
Substandard performance in organizations is not a product of deficient technical skills but deficient behavioural skills. The organization that can, through influential leadership, create a collaborative culture will become the industry model for achieving performance excellence. Learning the skill of Positive Presence will, by its very nature, create a culture of accountability and collaboration – a huge bonus and necessity in today’s global work environment. Essential to creating a collaborative culture is the mutual exchange of feedback on performance through the use of feedback tools. Conduct surveys if you are compelled to do so but to be effective and cultivate a culture of engagement, you must be willing to act on the information you receive. The proof of your leadership credibility is in the proverbial pudding as they say.