Too often I see Managers obsessed by driving results and forgetting about Employee Engagement, which can have a negative effect on those results.
It is possible to drive results as well as driving employee engagement, by adapting certain behaviours and the best leaders can do both. I found this HBR article to be on the same lines of my thinking and it outlines the 6 behaviours that successful leaders possess:
1. Communicates Clear Strategy And Direction
Drives for results – Peak results hinge on everyone having clarity about the direction and understanding the strategy to achieve it.
People skills – When people are lost or confused, they quickly become dissatisfied. Leaders who communicate well and provide clear direction have a much more engaged team.
2. Inspires And Motivates
Drives for results – More than three-quarters of leaders (78%) were rated higher on their ability to drive for results than on their ability to inspire and motivate others. We often refer to driving for results as “push” and to inspiring as “pull.” When a leader has the ability to drive hard for results and at the same time inspire high effort and performance, they are much more likely to achieve results.
People skills – Inspiring behaviour unleashes the energy within people to do their best work. Most of us want to make a positive difference in our work and the world. Leaders who can inspire and generate loyalty, commitment, passion, and enthusiasm in their team members excel at creating a positive work environment.
3. Establishes Stretch Goals
Drives for results – Setting stretch goals that team members accept has the ability to get others to work harder and raise the bar.
People skills – When stretch goals are collaboratively set with a team, amazing things happen. Work becomes fun. Everyone is all in. People feel valued and competent.
4. Has High Integrity And Inspires Trust
Drives for results – If a leader who is not trusted sets stretch goals, team members will often assume they are being manipulated and taken advantage of by their Manager. A trusted leaders motives are beyond reproach.
People skills – A key component of building positive relationships with others is being trusted. To be trusted, leaders need to “walk their talk.” They never ask their team members to do something that they are not willing to do themselves.
5. Develops Others
Drives for results – Leaders who care about the development of subordinates and who also take the time to develop these people reap the benefits in the results produced. Well-trained people are far more productive.
People skills – Most people want the opportunity to develop new skills and competencies. Leaders who are focused on helping team members develop are always viewed in a very positive light. Developing others has the twofold impact of elevating performance and creating a culture that is fun and engaging. It also attracts more people who want to work in it.
6. Is Coachable
Drives for results – Leaders who resist feedback are much like the emperor with no clothes. Since they do not seek or want feedback, people see do not speak up. Problems slip through the cracks. Deadlines are missed. However, if a leader seeks feedback and is receptive to advice, colleagues will not stand by if they see that leader is about to make a mistake.
People skills – Leaders who ask for feedback from others and work to make improvements are highly respected. Their coachability is an example to everyone.
I agree with the HBR article but I would add a couple of additional points:
When it comes to integrity and trust I must stress that all of the other behaviours rely on trust, it’s the foundation of other leadership behaviours. If there isn’t trust between people then it’s unlikely that motivation, setting stretching goals or communicating a clear strategy will be successful.
If you’re a regular follower of my work you will know that clarity is one of the 4 main disciplines needed to be an outstanding organisation and that’s exactly what communicating a clear strategy and direction means…you just can’t get away from clarity! Most SME businesses do not have sufficient clarity on business strategy and rarely explain it to the workforce. That’s one key reason I believe the UK’s industrial productivity is suffering – its tough for a worker to fully commit to a business and really help drive it forward if they don’t know where the business is going.
So if you want to drive results but have excellent employee engagement then take on board those 6 behaviours the best leaders possess.