Organizations and stakeholders continue to deal with the devastating and drastic changes experienced across the globe. Addressing the consequences stemming from the pandemic and social injustice issues requires great leadership to guide recovery, not just for the business during this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) time, but also for their stakeholders, community, and society. It is imperative now more than ever for leaders throughout the organization to consider and focus on all aspects of stakeholder well-being and safety.
Yet according to research conducted before 2020, there is a gap in developing and fostering the essential leader qualities needed most. Consider that,
- 50% of newly hired leaders quit or are fired within 3 years
- 40% of newly promoted leaders derail in the first 18 months
- Only 15% of workers are engaged in their job and the other 85% are disengaged, many in fact are actively seeking other employment
- Managers account for at least 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores across all business units
- There is a strong median difference between organizations with great leaders and engaged employees related to safety incidents, participation in wellness programs, absenteeism, quality defects, attrition, profits and productivity.
- And as it is already well known, “employees don’t quit jobs, but ‘bad’ bosses and companies”
Many believe these gaps have widened during 2020. (Gallup, State of the Global Workplace, 2017 Gallop, “State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders”; Corporate Leadership Council; CEO World Survey)
Here’s the thing, most if not all managers and employees want to do the right thing and give their best. The gaps are often due to the lack of development of leader qualities, not in the capability of managers and employees. Many lack the skills, resources, and/or tools to do so. Often those in management positions are promoted based on technical skills, not for their leadership and people skills, which are essential to the success for organizations in today’s business environment. These are also the essential skills to create a culture of safety and well-being; one that is physically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically safe.
Often the newly promoted managers receive HR policy training, including training such as managing timesheets, tracking absenteeism, and how to complete performance evaluations, for example. All are important skills for ‘managing’ but not for leading employees or the organization. Without leader development or role models to mentor new leaders, the skills gap widens.
Yet cultivating great leaders and ‘leaderfulness’ throughout your organization are more essential than ever to retain talent, enhance employee fulfillment, and ensure profitability, productivity, high performing teams, safety, and well-being. The top 10+1 skills needed include,
- Complex Problem Solving
- Critical/Analytical Thinking
- Creativity and Innovation
- Cognitive Flexibility
- Accurate Judgement & Decision Making
- Emotional, Social, and Relationship Intelligence: Personal and Interpersonal Skills
- High Team Functioning and Collaboration Between Other Teams
- Inspiring and Motivating Others
- Listening and Communication Skills, including Conflict Management
- Influencing and Persuading Others to Be Their Best
- And +1, Energy Management and Resilience
Unfortunately, the percentage of leaders provided development opportunities in these areas are less than 30% and for some as low as 7%. Not only is there a lack of leader development, but this also indicates there is a lack of role models and mentors to learn from. Five of the six skills are critical people skills that are fundamental to lead employees and the organization. All of these essential skills can be developed, practiced, and learned. The financial and human costs of not doing so can be catastrophic.
While there isn’t an off the shelf Leadership Development Program that works for all companies, there are many effective strategies that when fully implemented will,
- Cultivate great leaders;
- Foster positive relationships, interactions, and collaborations;
- Result in fulfilled and satisfied employees; and
- Enhance manager, employee, and organizational well-being and safety.
All of which result in creating a more satisfied workforce, more comfortable and equipped leaders, and a safer workplace – meaning one that is psychologically, socially, emotionally and physically safe – in other words, an overall great place to work!
A great place to work requires developing great leaders, creating a safe work environment, and focusing on well-being. This is the first in a series of blogs. More information will soon be summarized. In the meantime, we welcome a conversation, thoughts, and differing opinions.