You hire each employee to fulfill a specific role within your organization. And, with rare exceptions, most of your team members want to meet or exceed your expectations. But they also want more. Your employees yearn to feel a deep passion for their work and inspired by your company’s mission. They long to make a positive impact on the world around them.
As their leader, you should desire these things for your team. By unleashing their passion, you’ll help your staff feel empowered, fulfilled, and happy. But that’s not all.
New research shows, “71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success,” and, “63.3% of companies say retaining employees is harder than hiring them”. When your employees have this deep connection to their jobs, your company will reap numerous benefits. Engagement will go up. Turnover will go down. And your team will become an innovative, problem-solving force that fosters productive relationships and pursues continuous learning -- all in the name of moving your enterprise forward.
So how do you encourage, tap into, and nurture your employees’ passions? You:
Your organization has to facilitate passion. And your company culture must embrace innovation, risk-taking, and rapid adaptability. Why is this important? A major long-term study shows companies with the best corporate cultures -- those that encouraged all-around leadership initiatives and highly appreciated their employees, customers, and owners -- grew 682 percent in revenue. If that’s not incentive enough, another U.S. study shows disengaged employees cost organizations around $450-$550 billion per year.
That means that old-school, rigid micromanaging and narrow-focused supervision is out. Collaborative, flexible, trusting, and visionary leadership is in.
Your employees need to know that it’s okay to fail if a calculated risk doesn’t pay off. They also need to know that you’re not after perfection -- you’re after results. And, while today’s performance is important, tomorrow’s growth and evolution are more so.
This organizational stance has to be championed from the top down. As a leader, you need to model the behavior you want to see in your employees. Let your own passion show before you can expect your team to reveal theirs.
To be genuinely invested in and truly passionate about their work, your employees need to see that what they do matters. To help them recognize this, show them how their effort impacts their department, organization, and community. When each employee can trace their output to a larger outcome, they’ll take ownership of it and strive to improve.
Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform the best work. - Forbes
Here are a few ways you can show your employees their real impact:
When you invest in an employee’s development, you tell them that you care about them and their career. With an enhanced skill set, they’ll feel more confident navigating uncertain times. They’ll also feel more loyal to your organization.
69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated. - Hubspot
This development can also uncover and nurture your employees’ passion. As they learn by creating and doing, they’ll realize their potential and find new ways to help your organization achieve its goals. It’s a real win-win.
According to Gallup’s meta-analysis titled “How Employee Engagement Drives Growth,” the business or work units that scored the highest on employee engagement showed 21% higher profitability than units in the lowest quartile.
For best results, provide each employee with various developmental experiences, tailored to their emerging skills and interests. Let them interact with other passionate team members across the organization to spread enthusiasm and innovation. And most importantly, give them ample space to experiment and implement what they learn.
It’s exciting to watch your team’s passion develop and deepen, benefiting each member and the firm. What if you could get a sneak peek into your employees’ strengths, tendencies, and work preferences? That insight would help you position them for success both now and in the future and determine optimal developmental opportunities.
Good news! You absolutely can get that insight anytime you want it. A behavioral assessment provides all of those details and more, helping you lead, motivate, and communicate effectively with your team. You can learn more about Omnia’s behavioral assessments here.
Remember, effective communication leads to more productive employees and a more profitable workplace. Behavioral insights can provide leadership with ideas on how to efficiently and thoughtfully communicate with each team member.
Omnia offers a variety of reports using behavioral assessment data. For example, the Team Dynamics Report provides an in-depth custom analysis of an existing or potential team. On the other hand, our Professional Development Report is an automated self-awareness report written directly to existing employees.
Passionate employees can achieve great feats for your organization. But, they must be empowered to create, innovate, and take risks. When they are, you’ll retain valuable human capital, and your company will take giant leaps forward -- both necessities in today’s ever-competitive business world.
Let's face it; sometimes people end up in a management position who might not belong in one. It happens for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, not all is lost. There are some things you can do to help a non-leader lead!
In fact, it happens all the time: You thought you had the perfect person to take charge of a team: they had enthusiastic references; they used to do the job, and they rocked at it; they managed a different department and had amazing success. All signs indicate they should be doing great, but for some reason, things just aren’t working out. You have unmotivated employees, deadlines are being missed, production is falling. What do you do?
Well, you don't have a time machine, so you'd better make the best of the situation now. It was possibly just a bad-fit hire, or maybe it was a promotion that should not have happened. Too often, top performers are rewarded for their successes with promotions to management. This may seem like the perfect prize for their contributions, but unfortunately, the qualities that make them a top performer in their current role may not be the same qualities that make a successful leader.
Let's look at some scenarios. Take Cal, a friendly, helpful, conscientious customer service rep., a top performer. As a manager, his best traits could work against him. He could be too cautious, too uncomfortable with conflict, and too uneasy dealing with situations that are not outlined by written procedures. Now take a look at Martha, a top producing salesperson who closes deals quickly and innovates frequently. In a leadership role, she could set overly aggressive goals, she may not enforce important rules, and she might not want to mentor or coach employees. While these are top performers in their fields, it does not translate seamlessly to ideal leadership.
That’s not to say top employees can never lead, or that a struggling manager can't be coached; some may need more guidance than others.
1. First off, make sure the person still wants to manage (or see if they ever did). The promotion might have seemed like a wonderful thing at first, but if the individual is experiencing daily, soul-crushing anxiety, maybe it’s time to let them step back. Make it clear that a reduction in management duties would not be a punishment, just an adjustment. And mean it.
2. Find out where the problem is. Are employees not being held accountable, is morale lagging, are people lacking direction? Observe the situation, talk to the leader, and consider having them take a behavioral assessment to identify strengths and challenge areas. Interview the staff if necessary.
3. Be prepared to mentor and coach, focusing on the biggest problem area first. For example:
4. Once you figure out the problem, create a plan to correct it based on the biggest challenge areas. Check-in regularly to make sure progress is being made.
5. Since you don’t have a time machine: Hire right the first time. Make sure you do your due diligence when selecting people to lead your teams, and offer coaching from the outset. Even natural leaders will need some time to get up to speed.
6. Find other ways to reward your best performers if they are not necessarily interested in or suited to become leaders. Offer more responsibility, chances to cross-train, or opportunities to contribute in a natural and appealing way.
How power is obtained, maintained, used, and misused is very much a taboo topic at work. However, how leaders deploy power to accomplish objectives can have a critical impact on an organization. Shared leadership techniques have proven to be extremely effective across a wide range of organizations.
In its simplest form, power is the ability to get things done, especially through other people. A powerful leader can “mobilize the troops” by employing either formal (positional) power or more informal (personal) power. Great leaders, of course, have both. These successful leaders also tend to utilize a shared leadership model when it comes to using that power.
Being “power-hungry” is perceived as a bad thing. However, wanting it to either implement needed change or maintain a healthy status quo is just good sense for anyone striving to be a successful leader. Without power, leaders would find it difficult to drive behavior and outcomes.
However, in many cases, wielding that power single-handedly can be counterproductive and create quite a bit of resistance and resentment. Successful leaders understand when to exert power on their own and when to use shared leadership strategies to bring more people into conversations about what should be done next.
Involving more people in the decision-making process tends to lead to better outcomes. That’s because individuals often aren’t aware of the hidden biases that impact their decisions and thinking. Shared leadership also lays the foundation for true accountability, whether outcomes are positive or negative. Holding someone accountable for results they can’t control is unfair, ineffective, and bound to create friction and resentment.
Co-leadership increases loyalty and respect, which in turn creates positive relationships with minimum conflict. That’s because when a leader empowers employees, they feel trusted and capable. Soliciting others' opinions and advice through shared leadership activities demonstrates that a leader values what employees think and shows a degree of humility. Far from undermining their authority, leaders who are willing to admit they don’t know everything are much more likely to win their teams' trust and support than an overbearing “know-it-all” who doesn’t tolerate any dissent or criticism.
Without sharing power, succession planning will be a bust! People come, people go, and intelligent employers have a solid plan to replace their key players whenever the need arises. However, such a plan must ensure that those being groomed for higher responsibilities are allowed to learn the skills needed for shared leadership and grow through the assumption of greater levels of power. By entrusting high-potential employees with the power to make decisions, leaders can serve a mentorship role that better prepares leadership candidates for their future roles.
When leaders are generous with power, they actually create support groups for themselves. Rather than acting as “lone rangers,” these leaders have the benefit of leaning on their staff while knowing the job will get done. While leaders are always available to provide guidance when needed, their investment in their staff’s growth means they can depend on staff to “have their back” without fail.
If the shared leadership model has so many benefits, it may seem odd that more leaders aren’t using it. Unfortunately, sharing power doesn’t come easy for many executives, making it hard to understand the importance of shared leadership. It can feel like losing, and that’s scary (although they’d never admit it). Sharing also has the potential (or so they think) to deprive them of control over a situation, which is an unfortunate but very real interpretation.
Other leaders have the desire to share but lack the skills needed for shared leadership. They think they’re sharing, but they really aren’t. And so, they remain at the helm of most decisions, even ones that should clearly be in the domain of their subordinates. This creates more work for them and leaves employees frustrated and feeling like their leader isn’t willing to entrust them with anything.
Sometimes, and despite a leader’s best intentions and actions, an employee won’t meet the challenge of using the control they’re given. In some cases, employees need more guidance and direction to understand the characteristics of shared leadership. Perhaps they lack the experience or expertise to hold themselves accountable, or maybe they prefer being given specific instructions and tasks instead of taking responsibility for making important decisions.
However, with the right motivation, encouragement, and rewards, a slow-starter can be coached into taking the initiative, becoming a more critical thinker, and accepting more accountability for shared leadership. Employees who can’t be coached may have to be transferred into other, less senior positions, or transitioned out of the organization.
Like anything else in the corporate world, what’s rewarded will be replicated. Employers who want to set shared leadership examples within their organizations should focus on their managers’ abilities to get results via efficient delegation and collaboration.
Keep in mind that the characteristics of shared leadership come more naturally to some than to others. Fortunately, behavioral assessment tools, like Omnia’s employee selection and retention reports, can help employers determine which potential and current team members are more likely to lead collaboratively and possess the skills needed for shared leadership. The reports can also be used to coach employees in the direction the company wants them to go.
As technology and globalization create more complicated work, savvy companies will adopt shared leadership models that depend on less centralized power, knowing that their highest-performing employees will insist on having autonomy and authority to do their jobs.
Leadership is a dynamic activity. It’s never constant because everything around the leader – the dealership, the RV market, the customers, and the employees – is always changing. In other words, a good manager is never “done.” As the RV world changes, so must we to stay at the top of our game.
Despite all the self-help written on the topic of management, most managers aren’t very good. That’s not just our opinion. Gallup has gone on record as stating that nearly 90 percent of managers don’t have the talent to manage. Yikes. There are several reasons for this:
Unfortunately, these organizational flaws set a vicious cycle in place, whereby weak managers become the role models for other up-and-coming managers. How can your dealership break that cycle?
Developing Fabulous Leaders in Five Steps
Gallup’s data doesn’t have to be your dealership’s destiny. Here are five steps to developing fabulous leaders!
Step 1: Hire The Best Talent For The Job
Deciding who comes into your dealership is one of the most important decisions you can make, so effective hiring processes are key. Checks and balances within the employee selection process will assist in hiring the best fit for your culture. Lacking in this area can have the opposite effect. Sure, once in a while, an organization will get lucky and hire someone great without even trying (and on the flip side, a poor fit will sneak in), but by and large, a good process yields good results.
Tips for effective hiring include:
Step 2: Get To Know Your Staff
Creating a developmental plan for your employees only comes with knowing your people, so get to know them! What are their strengths? What are their blind spots? What keeps them up at night? What motivates them? What are their career goals? How do they handle change and conflict? How do they like to be managed? When you know the answers to these questions, figuring out who needs what to succeed becomes much easier.
Step 3: Resolve To Invest Time In Your Team
Investing time in your staff is essential. Whether they initiate informal check-in times or whether you agree to meet at regular intervals each week or month, make sure you’re giving your staff the attention they need to feel supported and connected. Time is also needed to give – and receive – feedback properly.
Step 4: Just Do It!
Leadership development is a multi-pronged activity that includes formal education (i.e., training), coaching, mentoring, and regular feedback that’s honest, timely, and actionable. Schedule regular training and give and receive honest feedback, a normal part of your dealership’s culture.
To get the most of your efforts, tailor developmental needs to the individual manager. For instance, there’s no reason to send a group email or call for a group meeting to discuss one employee's transgressions, especially when everyone knows who that email or meeting was really about. Not only does this tactic annoy everyone else, but it also keeps the employee who needs this information the most from getting it.
By the way, any leader who demonstrates a clear resistance to being coached or otherwise instructed should be let go without hesitation. Your organization needs leaders who are willing to grow.
Step 5: Don't Be Afraid to Get Help
Developing fabulous leaders is a company-wide effort and the responsibility of more than just the leader’s leader. HR should be right there with you, as should the most senior level of management. Get their input as well as their support as often as you need it.
Many organizations fail at developing leaders because it’s hard, and it takes time, energy, and effort some believe would be better spent elsewhere. Add to that the common but mistaken belief that good management is a “natural” byproduct of born characteristics and common sense. It’s not hard to understand why 90 percent of leaders can’t optimally do the job. However, your dealership can beat those odds by taking steps to make your development efforts stick.
Soon, the latest wave of eager, book-schooled graduates will be crashing onto your industry’s shores. With eyes focused on their organization’s long-term success, decision-makers and strategists have already determined which departments can take on fresh, inexperienced talent and which simply cannot. Making room for enthusiastic new hires often compels managers to implement changes to their workplace; it also propels many to take an active role in growing the business by promoting their existing employee superstars.
How readily can your staff accommodate new situations, new members, new business practices? When considering an employee for promotion, be sure the person is productive and ready to take on leadership responsibilities. Some people are great at what they do, but they have no real desire to move into leadership. They set modest personal goals and like working with very little pressure.
People like this are often content performing the same job year after year or want to grow as individual contributors versus managers. They’re loyal, diligent workers that are often also quite accommodating. They may heartily agree to take on a promotion only because you want them to. The result: an unduly stressed, unmotivated, unhappy employee – disastrous in a role where they are supposed to motivate and engage others.
You may come to the disturbing realization that your superstar teller is now ineffective. It’s important to know not only your team’s abilities but also their career goals. Don’t make the mistake of imposing managerial career objectives on someone who does not have them. Fill positions of authority with people who are enterprising, ambitious, assertive, and self-confident.
Remember, promoting a great person into the wrong job will create stress, confrontations, confusion, worry, and resentment. Make sure you understand your needs and analyze your employees to help ensure a good mutual fit.
Unexpected situations can arise and grow beyond our control. A health issue or family crisis can erupt. A new interest or sudden desire to cast aside business pressures and pursue long-held personal dreams has compelled countless high-level executives and managers to do what they never thought they would do: step down from their job. Not to mention the wave of managerial staff reaching retirement age and fully intend to retire. Some businesses experience a smooth, cost-effective transition of power by implementing their existing succession plan. Others, too often, will face pandemonium and lost money because there is no such plan in place.
What are the criteria for positions of leadership in your organization? Does your current team meet them?
Preserving the good name, solid reputation, and positive image of your credit union is essential. It is critical to provide your customers and your staff with an ongoing sense of confidence about your organization's future regardless of who is at the helm.
Your short-term goal should be to develop a pool of leaders. Find workers who show the potential to make independent decisions, act on their own behalf, and take action. Doing so, however, can be more difficult than it seems.
For example, an employee who is openly enthusiastic, talkative, and comfortable in the spotlight might seem like a good choice to lead others. Be careful! The leadership ability you think you see may really be social assertiveness, an ability to strut before an audience. Make sure there are other signs of determination, ambition, and resolve. People whose greatest strength is their social savvy often talk a bigger game than they can actually play.
The effects of poor leadership can be widespread, from loss of customers to low morale. The opportunity to avoid these mishaps is yours. Know your needs, avoid guessing, and learn your staff's work habits, objectives, and personalities. The Omnia Profile, a top employee behavioral assessment tool, can easily and objectively highlight your existing staff and new hires' leadership strengths, challenges, and potential.
Your credit union's future is in your hands and depends on the strategies you have in place today. There is no turning back, no second chance, and no margin for error!
Ask someone to describe a good leader, and you’ll probably hear words like “trustworthy,” “decisive,” “smart,” and “charismatic.” A word you probably won’t hear is “thoughtful.”
Who would claim that being thoughtful is a bad thing? Likely no one, but still, “thoughtfulness” doesn’t quite top the list of “Must Have Leadership Traits.”
What’s going on here? In my humble opinion, thoughtfulness should be a bonafide leadership requirement. Thoughtfulness and high emotional intelligence (EQ) go hand in hand, and we all know that EQ is key to effective leadership.
Perhaps you need additional convincing? No problem. Here’s a bunch of ways thoughtfulness contributes to good leadership.
We’d hope that all leaders would endeavor to choose their words carefully, but they don’t. Sadly, one of the privileges of leadership is having the power to speak recklessly without suffering the natural consequences of doing so. Instead, others with less power are left to clean up the mess the thoughtless words produced. Impact and not intent is what matters here. Even without meaning to do harm, a few carelessly spoken (or written) words can inflict damage that’s not easily repaired.
According to the old saying, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Yet, preparation for management rarely includes education about how to use power responsibly. The result is not always pretty. In his book Somebodies and Nobodies, Robert Fuller describes how the problem of rankism – de-fined as “rank-based discrimination” – is the root of much workplace conflict. As careful as they are with speech (see above), thoughtful leaders take care that their actions don’t abuse the trust of their peers, subordinates, or superiors.
Peruse the job boards, and you’re likely to come across any number of companies proudly advertising themselves as “fast-paced.” Agility and flexibility are desirable qualities for our modern businesses, but patience is important, too. Patience reduces mistakes and makes time for everyone who should be included in decision making to be included in decision making. This not only results in better problem solving, but it also reduces conflict too.
Unfortunately, some leaders are more adept at creating chaos than calm. While it’s easy to confuse drama with doing, the best leaders can keep a cool head during the most stressful situations. They don’t burden everyone else with their upset feelings, which is also a good way to ensure that subordinates don’t, in turn, pass any negative energy on to their staff.
Employees appreciate it when employers take a sincere interest in their personal well-being, and thoughtful leaders do just that. Their consideration, empathy, and fairness begets loyalty and increased productivity because workers never mind going “above and beyond” for a manager who’s proven to be a reliable advocate. Less thoughtful leaders struggle here because their natural leadership styles don’t lend themselves to slowing down and taking the time needed to forge these connections – should they even see the value in doing so.
For the most part, ours is a “more, more, more” and “get it done faster, faster, faster” society, but reflective leaders capable of deep thought are very much needed. These leaders inject stability and humanity to the workplace, and they allow room for employees to bring their best and whole selves to the job, which benefits us all.