Monday I referred to Gallup’s study entitled The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders – and its finding that managers and leaders hold a powerful influence on workers’ engagement levels. Employee engagement is enhanced when leaders focus on employee strengths – motivating them to participate in the success of the organization.
So what makes a good leader? Jim Taylor’s Psychology Today blog post- The 5 Things Great Leaders Do Very Well – offers valuable insight into great leadership. Most agree that effective leadership is essential but many may disagree as to what effective leadership is – or for that matter – what a leader is. I absolutely love Taylor’s definition of a leader:
“First, what is a leader? Your answer may include inspiring employees, having a strategic vision and plan, or knowing how to hire or delegate. All of these are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for being a leader. But the purest definition of a leader I can offer is: someone with followers. Without them, there is no leader.”
He also dismisses the notion of leadership styles, noting that “talking about styles has little value because we are incapable of leading in a way that is inconsistent with who we are as people.”
Your role as an engaged leader is to use your strengths to focus on your employees’ strengths. Taylor gives five essential roles that effective leaders must fill.
- As a Person – not how you lead but the kind of person you are and the relationships you build with your team, which is the foundation for gaining respect, trust and loyalty.
- As a Performer – a role model, engaged in leadership, showing the way, and possessing the psychological, emotional and interpersonal skills to perform at a high level consistently.
- As a Decision Maker – creating a framework and process that maximizes the chances of your team making good decisions.
- As an Agent of Change – creating a culture that has the ability to adapt to constant changes in the marketplace.