“A fish rots from the head down”
My friend was stood down from her job due to COVID-19 on March 23, she, along with her colleagues, hasn’t had any contact or communication from her employer at all during this time. At the time of writing this blog that’s been 11 weeks.
I have another friend who’s team at work was sat down by their manager a matter of hours after initial lockdown announcements were made and were told they’d probably have to make people redundant. This is a business who’s core operations were not affected by the lockdowns at all. No discussion about how the operations may change or how the business values their employees and will aim to do everything in its power to retain jobs – straight to the fear inducing.
Kylie McLerie from Collective Culture Consultancy, a Kalgoorlie based business consultancy service that specialises in leadership development, believes that “Leadership is, or should be, a people based exercise. Effective leaders are always remembered for how they made people feel valued and part of the big picture, not simply a cog in the wheel.”
Leadership comes from inspiring and empowering those around you, a position title doesn’t make you a great leader, which is why you find great leaders at all levels of an organisation. (You can read more about this here).
If I were to ask you to think of your most inspiring and well respected managers or supervisors at work, and their most admirable traits, many of you would respond with some common themes; honesty & integrity; good communicator; inspirational; accepts accountability; empathy; ability to delegate & empower; humility; transparency; resilience and decision making capabilities.
Kylie McLerie states the ability to be a great leader comes from the ability to “be the standard that you expect. If it isn’t modelled from the top then it won’t be part of the culture”
“What you do has far greater impact than what you say” Stephen Covey
An organisations culture is the standard it accepts, not the standard it expects. If a leader can’t emulate the right behaviours then why should your employees?
Which brings me to my opening quote “A fish rots from the head down”
If a leader in your organisation thinks is kosher to not follow policies and procedures; lead by intimidation and fear; not communicate; speak poorly of clients, employees and / or people from minority groups; withhold relevant information from employees, then guess what?
Your employees will think that it’s ok to act that way as well
It will impact business profitability significantly.
Employees will have low rates of engagement and productivity, they’ll speak negatively about their experiences while working for you and you’ll suffer frequent and high turnover – and that’s just the obvious symptoms of poor leadership.
“Leadership is not about you; it’s about investing in the growth of others” Ken Blanchard
In 2015 a behavioural statistician, Joseph Folkman, commenced a study to look at the legacy of poor leadership within organisations. The aim was to conduct analysis to reveal any correlation between an executives capacity to effectively lead, and the impact of that leadership style on their direct reports and so on throughout the organisational structure.
Joseph gathered 360 degree feedback on 6000 leaders, looking specifically at the feedback from their direct reports and was then able to match those direct reports to 360 degree feedback from their direct reports.
The results were statistically significant. Managers who came in at the lowest 10% for their coaching skills had direct reports who’s coaching skills rated in the 45th percentile. Thats 5 points below average. On the flip side to that, Managers who scored exceptionally well for their coaching skills had direct reports who scored in the 60th percentile, or 10 points above average, for their coaching skills.
It is clear from this study that good coaches tend to develop good coaches and that poor coaches influence others in the opposite direction.
If you promote internally you can see the legacy implications of poor leadership.
“Value your team, you’re only as good as the people around you” Ali Kent
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It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors.