Anthropologist Lionel Tiger published what could be the most honest leadership study. He found that a baboon looks at the alpha male of the group every 20 to 30 seconds for guidance. We pretty much do the same. As employees, we need support and validation from the ones we work with. Unfortunately, many of our bosses employ the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra, instead of walking the talk.
You’ve met that boss who asks you to put in extra hours, while he takes the week off and goes skiing with his buddies. Double standards make the average Joe feel disappointed. He’s the stooge that keeps breaking his back without getting noticed, while others are having fun. Having a polluted organizational culture affects the company as a whole and it’s up to leaders to make or break these habits.
Only 25 percent of the employees say their leaders support them, a HBR study found after questioning 19,000 people working around the world. Those who have bosses who ensure top-down support are 55 percent more engaged, and have scored 72 percent higher in well being. Also, they are 77 percent more satisfied at work and less likely to leave the company.
The research also says that only 22 percent of employees have a leader who communicates a vision that is “clear, consistent, and inspiring”. Among those who do, 82 percent noted higher job satisfaction.
In an article written for Forbes, Erika Andersen argues that there is a single reason why a gifted person decides to resign. “Top talent leave an organization when they’re badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring,” she says.
A better manager for the digital world
Digital technology supports managers a lot with being the kind of bosses employees respect and are eager to work with. It’s easier than ever to pass down your knowledge, to openly collaborate and help the people around you grow – i.e. being a leader. Communication channels are plenty. Software tools like Quandora help your team stay in touch and work effectively even if your workforce is scattered around the globe.
Leaders can share their knowledge and expertise within the team, and encourage everyone to step in. Great ideas ignite when people work together and aren’t afraid to express their thoughts. As a leader, the secret is to forget double standards and to demonstrate the behavior everyone else is being asked to display.
Collaboration is one of the key weapons for focusing towards a common goal. It’s not about being best friends, but about sitting at a (virtual) table and trying to come up with fixes and creative ideas.
Here are some tips that helps a leader improve collaboration with his team:
- Get to know your employees, communicate often and with purpose;
- Acknowledge their successes and help them recover from failures;
- Offer access to tools that supports learning and sharing what they know.
As a leader, when you come with new rules, make sure to be the first to follow them. Be fair, support your people and keep you communication channels open. You never know who will come up with the next brilliant idea. Validate people’s contribution and…
Happy Knowledge Sharing!