May 6, 2011
Recently, one of the companies I’ve been working with has shown me again the necessity for leaders to show integrity, humility and an genuine commitment to organisational success….. this is especially challenging when the leaders themselves need to be the agents for change (as they always are), and the role models for “how we do things around here” (as they also always are). It takes a huge amount of courage to admit that you need to change your personal behaviours, when they are destructive to the rest of the organisation. Especially so when these behaviours have served you well in the past.
In a book I read recently from the Centre for Creative Leadership, I found a paragraph that resonated with this experience:
” Effective leaders continue to develop their repertoire of skills throughout their careers. Most leaders begin their careers with clear strengths that they bring to their work. These strengths vary from leader to leader….. but to be effective in a wide variety of leadership roles and situations, individuals have to master new skills and develop proficiency in additional areas. Instead of always relying on a limited set of natural capabilities, they have to become more well-rounded.” (Developmental Assignments: Creating Learning Experiences without Changing Jobs, Cynthia McCauley, 2006).
I see many leaders continuing to cling to the natural capabilities that got them appointed to a leadership role – but manyof these people neglect to take stock and see the damage they cause in their team or indeed, throught an entire organisation, by refusing to see their personal weaknesses. So here’s a quick challenge question to all the leaders out there:
A. How many people directly report to you? (I’m hoping there’s more than 1….)
B. How many of thos people would follow you through think and thin, because they are totally engaged with your vision?
Calculate B divided by A and multiply by 100 to get a percentage score.
I can tell you now that it’s my personal mission to raise that leadership score across the general leadership polupation to an average of over 80%, which means that leaders would have 8 out of every 10 of their direct reports totally engaged in their vision. The current information on global employee engagement scores is that it’s significantly less than my target…. f rom 2008 to 2010, Aon Hewitt’s measure of the overall global average employee engagement score dropped from 59% to 56%. This decline is the largest that seen in the last 15 years, and this change is largely the result of regional score declines in Europe and North America, yet Australia is showing similar trends.
Am I just being “Pollyanna” about this target? Well, I don’t believe so. In fact, I believe that every leader – with development and solid HR supporting systems – can become a 8+ leader. However it takes a significant change in day-to-day focus to make it happen. But the results of having a more engaged workforce (think low turnover, improved productivity and creativity, retained organisational knowledge, happier workplace) might just be worth some short-term discomfort for some.
Please feel free to post your score or comment – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the “leadership score”.
And if you’re wanting support and accountability to improve your leadership score, then check out our suite of leadership coaching packages.