Employee Engagement is described in terms of people feeling a strong emotional bond to the their organization. It is also descrbied as demonstrating a willingness to recommend the organization to others. As well, committing time and effort to help the organization succeed. It suggests that people are motivated by intrinsic factors such as personal development, being valued, and having a shared purpose rather than issues relating to extrinsic reward such as pay and status. Employee Engagement is strongly linked to high productivity at work. but what are the leadership qualities that build this commitment? What are qualities of good leaders in management?
Qualities of Good Leaders in Management : Setting Direction and Building Trust
It is said that managers keep things on track. But leaders create energy. Increasingly, managers are often seen as leaders. This is particularly the case in the context of building employee engagement. As a start point they need to create Role Clarity. So there is a clear sense of purpose as well as well-defined objectives. This is important at all levels. But of course takes different forms. The different forms depend on the experience of employees and the complexity of the task at hand. For professional or managerial staff there is a strong need for consultation and dialogue. This is required in order to know how best to proceed. It is surprising how often people are not clear about the reasoning behind changes that are propoese, new initiatives, or how all of these will be implemented.
It is also important to understand the difference between the different reasons for motivation. Motivation can be associated with initiative and discretionary effort, which is supported by perceptions of a supportive environment, ordoing meaningful work and self-belief such as the ability to visualise oneself overcoming a problem. Motivation can also be associated with engagement, which is influenced by the support given to personal development, and also to people’s trust in their immediate manager. This may be linked to perceptions of behaviour that is fair and consistent, and competence. Competence can also affect views of senior management capability.
What Makes a Good Leader
Research relating to employee engagement offers significant insight into the behaviour required by leaders and the qualities of good leaders in management. Most significantly, a good leader demonstrates high awareness of role relationships. He is also aware of appreciation of the need to clarify role requirements. Effective leaders set clear direction whilst helping employees respond to work demands in a positive way. They therefore involve employees in a process of regular dialogue,. This is very important and one of the most important qualities of good leaders in management. It helps employees to make sense of what is required. This strengthens the feeling that tasks are meaningful, and that they have a wider purpose.
Building this shared sense of purpose is not easy and is not something all leaders will acheive. There may well be disagreement or conflicting views on how best to proceed within the organisation. Research by Pario Innovations in the UK has identified four key steps that managers must master to become leaders. Central to leadership are the “Purposeful Conversations” that helps build genuine commitment. This process is described as Leading with AIMS. AIMS relate to Awareness, Insight, Meaning & Support.
How Important are The Individual Employee Attributes?
Individual attributes, particularly differences in mindset and Cognitive Style, affect discretionary effort. This is central to what we mean when discussing motivation at work. The combination of self-belief and a more questioning outlook and the sense of doing meaningful work in a supportive environment are the drivers behind personal effort and initiative. However, the role of the immediate manager can play a key part in building or undermining people’s feelings personal mastery and competence.
If competence, motivation and engagement are not supported problems will evolve. Studies by Pario suggest that a proportion of people in most organisations are Disaffected. This may involve 5 to 8 per cent of the workforce. These people do not identify with the organisation. They generally lack a sense of longer-term involvement. They only stay because they do not have a good alternative or other place to go to. Also they may be less skilled and feel less ‘professionaly connected’ with the business. As a start point, they require clear objectives as well as regular feedback and development of a sense of shared purpose to increase their involvement.
In Conclusion, we have started to identify strong links between Employee Engagement Surveys and Innovative 360 Degree Feedback. These techniques help profile factors that are associated with a dynamic culture that fosters talent. They also bring into focus the drivers of psychological wellbeing which is vital to healthy organizations. The new tools identify the leadership qualities contributing to high performance as well as assessing these far more objectively than was possible in the past.