Am I an Engaging Leader?
Business leaders are quite open about the most challenging part of their job – managing, leading and engaging their people. Even some of the most prominent leaders, who have made extraordinary contributions to business, have talked openly about their struggles as the CEO – the mistakes they’ve made and what they’ve learned. Take the late Steve Jobs, for instance – he used this analogy for what builds strong businesses:
“My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. And that’s how I see business. You know great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
It’s engagement that drives performance. The more engaged and effective your team feels, the better their performance will be. You’ll often hear businesses talk about their Return on Investment – but for us, it’s about a Return on Engagement. Top People – Bottom Line.
What we know
Research tells us that only 35-39% of UK employees are positively engaged at work (CIPD Employee Outlook Survey). Companies with high levels of engaged employees, deliver greater performance. One piece of research by the Hay Group, identified a 43% average uplift in performance between low engagement and high engagement firms. This may explain why the most engaged companies enjoy five-times higher shareholder returns.
What do employees want from their leaders?
Ask Richard Branson, and he’ll tell you this “A company is people…employees want to know am I being listened to, or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted”.
It might sound like a bit of a cliché but they want to feel valued and challenged too. They want to be trusted and given the freedom to explore and learn within the job – to stretch themselves and to grow. They want their contributions to be recognised and appreciated and to celebrate success. But most of all, people want to love their jobs. And this can only be a good thing for business leaders. After all, it isn’t companies that engage emotionally with their customers — it’s their people.
What are the qualities of an engaging leader?
In our experience, engaging leaders know how to motivate their teams, keeping them focused on purpose and vision. They know how to bring people together, connecting them and supporting them. They empower. They enable. They energise. And when it comes to their communication and behaviour, they’re authentic – grounded, open and humble – and sometimes, even a little bit flawed. When you walk out of the room, would your team say these things about you?
If you’d like to find out more about how we’ve worked with business leaders to elevate their business and their people, please get in touch at [email protected]riscooper.co.uk