External factors like competition and market forces, all beyond your control, have an impact on the performance of your organization. But if you want a lever to push on that will help you to drive business results, focus on your leadership behaviors. They hold the key to improving engagement, commitment, and productivity—an elite trifecta when it comes to improving business results.
Organizations with high levels of engagement, commitment and productivity outperform their counterparts that score low in those areas. Studies by Gallup and others have shown a clear line of sight between these tangible measures of leadership impact and business outcomes like revenue, profit, earnings per share and customer loyalty. And with so many Tampa Bay organizations seeking growth and development in these areas we have a remarkable opportunity to improve.
So what are the keys to getting this performance as shown by the best leaders in the world?
Exemplars and avatars: Being a role model is a critical component of leadership strength and it is vital for the success of any organization. People will emulate the behaviors of key leaders and pay much more attention to what they do than to any mission or values statements. If your leaders are not walking their talk and exemplifying how the corporate values are exhibited, then you have a problem, as few things are as de-motivating than a leader who does not do as they ask others to do.
If fiscal responsibility is a value, then leaders better not stay at five star hotels. Leaders behaviors proliferate. Make sure they are the right ones.
Talking the walk: In addition to walking the talk, as role models, leaders need to talk their walk. That is they have to be talking, at every opportunity, about the objectives, goals and strategies for the enterprise. You can’t make the assumption that just because you said it once that everyone retained the ideas perfectly. Leaders have to reinforce the objectives and goals in every interaction.
Jack Welch, of General Electric fame, highly regarded as a management guru, used to say that leaders needed to translate their ideas into simple bite size pieces and use “simplicity, consistency, and repetition,” in order to ensure their messages were absorbed. If you are going to err, err on the side of over communicating. As an aside, I’ve never heard that about any leader.
Making an emotional connection: I am not talking about wild displays of emotion. Rather, this is about connecting with people beyond a job, or task, or output, but as people.
Most people I have worked with want to do well for those who they respect and who show them the same respect.
I wrote an article for Harvard Business Review on the importance of these kinds of connections and the response was overwhelmingly positive regarding how motivated people were when the boss connected with them as a human being. Few things will inspire or motivate employees to go the extra mile more than a leader who is able to connect emotionally with individuals and teams.
Clear strategy and outcome focus: We love the focus that comes with clarity because it helps to address the uncertainty that exists in any business or organization. While leaders can’t predict the future, they can paint a picture of what it could like with a clear strategy. That strategy can be how to address change and keep people focused on the outcomes that are critical for success.
The outcomes are so important since tactics and operational objectives regarding how to achieve those outcomes may change, but the target remains the same. That is the essence of maintaining a clear strategy and it is a powerful tool in building confidence toward the achievement of the organizations goals.
Those leadership characteristics are among the most powerful when it comes to producing the engagement, commitment, and productivity that fuels results. The best part about using leadership improvement, as one of your tools to improve performance is that you will have only a modest incremental cost.
You are already paying for managers to lead. Now it is a matter of getting them to lead more effectively to drive these results.
Article published on: Tampa Bay Business Journal