Each week I read leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five leadership articles readers found most valuable last week. Click on the title of the article to read the full text. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.
Why Make Managers a Strategic Priority? By Larry Sternberg & Kim Turnage
What would your organization be like if every employee had a great manager? What would happen to productivity, quality, morale and customer satisfaction? In every organization, managers are a key leverage point to drive higher performance and better business results. Managers maintain service and quality standards and ensure adherence to company policies and regulatory requirements. They also drive engagement and retention of employees.
Managers influence at least 75 percent of the reasons people give for voluntary job turnover, and they account for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement. The impact managers have on turnover and engagement go straight to the organization’s bottom line. Turnover costs range from 48 to 61 percent of an employee’s annual salary, and disengaged employees cost organizations $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary.
It’s difficult to overstate the impact a great manager can have on organizational performance.
My Comment: You would never trust your customers to an untrained frontline employee. And yet, if your business is like most, your managers get little or no training before being entrusted with your most valuable resource: your people.
If you want to improve your employee engagement, your productivity, and your culture, invest in your managers, team leaders, and supervisors. Understand that just being good at their work doesn’t mean they know or are qualified to lead people. Give them the practical tools they need to succeed. Wondering where to start? That’s why we wrote Winning Well, to give managers the practical tools they need to succeed.
Most of my career has been in leadership roles — and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I mean, a lot of mistakes. More than I can count.
I’ve learned about leadership the hard way. I’ve learned the most about leading by doing it the wrong way.
I can still remember when I first hit the management track. My very first thought? “Finally, I don’t have to be ‘on’ all day!”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
So with that in mind, here are some things I once forgot, and I’m sure others have too at some point in their careers.
My Comment: This is a fun list and full of real life issues that managers do indeed forget. I love the first item on the list: “They forget what it’s like to follow.” Can you remember what it was like to never be encouraged and only be criticized? Or to never understand why you were doing what you were doing? Or to work hard while you colleague slacked off? The more you can remember, the more empathy you will have, and the better job you will do cultivating an environment that releases your team’s energy and motivation.
From Career Mobility to Opportunity Mobility by Julie Winkle Guilioni on SmartBrief
Career mobility is defined as the movement of employees across levels, positions and even industries. In the past, it was a yardstick by which people measured their progress and success. And it was also a tool for incenting employees and calibrating the value of their contributions to the organization.
Today, however, rather than being a helpful feature within the talent management landscape, issues related to career mobility frequently immobilize organizations and undermine optimal engagement and results. Nearly three out of four Americans report being less than satisfied with the career development they receive.
Much of the disappointment boils down to a common complaint: “I’m stuck – ready for something new – but without a promotion or other move available to me.”
My Comment: This is an important topic. It’s not just that promotion opportunities might be unavailable. In many cases, the employee might not want or be ready for leadership responsibilities. And yet, a sense of growth is one of the greatest contributions to engaged, energized employees. Guilioni gives us a useful frame to view solutions: think of opportunities that allow people to stretch, acquire new skills, and accomplish something new. How can you help them to expand their capacity and effectiveness?
10 Ways to Cut Workplace Drama and Make Work Fun Again by Martin Zwiling at Inc.com
Is it just me in my role as business advisor, or is emotional drama in the workplace increasing? Team members seem to be spending more and more time venting to anyone who will listen about the motives and actions of others, and less time introspectively focused on their own productivity and accountability.
The result is less real engagement and more negativity for all to endure.
My Comment: Today we boarded an airplane on our way to share one of our most popular programs: Mastering the
Art of the Tough Conversation. We carried our Winning Well Diaper Genie™ with us and the flight attendant asked us to explain our unusual carry-on.
As we explained how to “ditch the diaper drama” and have the conversations you need to have, she smiled.
“Yes! The crew and I were just talking about this…too many people have a problem with someone and instead of talking with them, they run to management and complain. That’s nuts. We fly together for several days at a time. I don’t want to let the issue fester. Let’s talk about it and resolve it.”
Great advice – and Zwiling gives you ten ways to do this and avoid unnecessary drama in your work life.
Would You Hire You? by Dan Rockwell
If we aren’t careful, as time passes, leaders expect more from others and less from themselves.
Would you hire you, if you interviewed yourself?
You expect the people you interview to answer important questions with concise clarity. Maybe it’s time to hold yourself to the same standard.
My Comment: The title says it all. Take a look at the self-interview questions Rockwell recommends. How would you fare?
What thoughts do these articles bring to mind? Do you see something differently than the author? Did you have a favorite leadership article this week? Leave us a comment and let’s hear from you.