Engaging leadership brings huge benefits to any team, business unit or organisation. We all know it. We see the evidence everywhere and we are all familiar with the old saying:
“Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.”
We have all worked in teams and have experienced a range of managers and leaders. We all know the impact of both engaging and disengaging leaders.
Not all disengaging leaders are ‘toxic bosses’ though. Many are decent people, trying to do their best but failing to engage their employees. The concept of engaging leadership seems just beyond their grasp. They do well in some areas, but just seem unable to pull it all together or just seem to be trying too hard. One or two behaviours may just let them down.
So, what behaviours and habits are killing their efforts at engaging leadership? We will look briefly at some of these now. In the coming blogs, I can address some of these in more depth including actions you can take to remedy those you feel affected by.
- Position Power vs Personal Power
Many managers struggling with engaging leadership behaviours have actually fallen into this trap. Perhaps, it is simply that they lack charisma. They don’t pull people with them so they revert to position power. Ask yourself, have you ever used the phrase ‘I am the manager’ in a heated discussion?
If yes, then you are using position power in your leadership role. This is an extremely weak position. Relying on position power actually screams out to those around you that you do not have the charisma and personal power to influence and lead people. It weakens your impact as a leader. You need to work on this.
Leading on from the discussion on ‘power’, inconsistent behaviour by a manager is an engaging leadership killer. People like to know what to expect from those who wield any kind of power over them. All managers and supervisors fall into this category. They have power over employees.
Employees will not be open and honest with leaders or managers whose behaviour is unpredictable and inconsistent. The employee will never feel safe under these conditions. The manager can, therefore, expect mistakes, errors, and suggestions to be hidden from him/her. If people do not feel safe, they will never be engaged.
- You Love Meetings…..
Go on, admit it. Too many managers love a good long meeting. The longer the better it would seem. Why? It is very hard to answer this. Surely, any good manager will immediately note the cost of meetings and limit them in both number and duration.
A good leader will note the negative impact of meetings on their team members, especially those who are committed to their job and intent on achieving high performance. Too many meetings, or meetings that are too long, sap the energy from your high performers.
High performers are motivated by the energy they derive from doing and achieving. Very little is ever achieved in a meeting. They will feel hampered by too much talk. Keep your meetings short, focused and high energy to get the best from your high performers.
- …..But You Don’t Love Me!!
When they feel that you haven’t got their well-being at heart, can you really expect them to be engaged? They will often feel exposed, especially when something has gone wrong. It is important that a manager is seen to stand between his/her people and the pressures of the organisation. A manager must actively listen to and understand employees if they are to feel cared for and valued.
- No Authenticity / Insincerity
This is possibly the biggest killer of engaging leadership. People like people. More importantly, we tend to work better and happier for people who are comfortable being who they are. Engaging leaders tend to be authentic and sincere. When they communicate, their intentions are clear. It is great when the message and the intention match.
Too often, we deal with managers who behave very differently in different situations, or who seem to believe that the line manager role brings certain powers and abilities with it. Their intention can often be unclear and incongruent with the message being spoken. This insincerity leads to uncertainty among employees which again negates attempts to engage them.