Your behaviour as a leader is closely linked to how your employees perform and how engaged they are
If your employees are not engaged enough, not performing well or only lasting a short time, HR and recruiters should get together and find out where they are going wrong. Right? In some cases, it may solve the problem, but in many others, it is actually a different group that should be looking in the mirror. And those mirrors are hanging in leaders’ offices.
Your leadership behaviour can be read by employees
According to a survey of 1,200 Danish office employees, 44% have tried to change jobs to get away from a bad leader, and most people who have had a job at some point will have encountered both good and not-so-good leaders.
So, the bad news is that there are many bad leaders. The good news is that leadership is about leadership behaviour and not something you are either good or bad at. Leadership is not what you are – it is what you do. And you can learn to do it right.
The good leader is an all-rounder
Google did a big analysis project in their own organisation a few years ago, looking at what defines a good leader. The conclusion was that the good leader is characterised by a number of “qualities” – including good coaching skills, the ability to delegate responsibility and good communication skills.
These parameters are bound to send a chill down the spines of a large number of leaders who may see themselves as professionally competent, but who do not have their strengths in these particular areas.
In this respect, it is both perfectly acceptable and quite understandable. People are different, and what you may lack on one side, you certainly have on the other. But if you – and your leader – are not aware of these shortcomings, your company could be facing a serious problem. After all, an employee encounters the “whole package” in his or her meeting with the leader, and if the shortcomings outweigh the strengths, the employee may be either downshifting or leaving the company.
4 categories of leadership behaviour
There is no doubt that the leadership qualities identified at Google will also be important in driving employee engagement in many other companies and organisations.
Our experience and research show that the good leader, who is able to engage people and drive business performance, is characterised by being able to demonstrate the right leadership behaviours in four broad categories: Leading, Managing, Structuring and Changing.
In other words, leadership is not what you are,
but what you do.
The management task will of course depend on the specific context of each company but will very often require the leader to use tools from all four categories of behaviour. To navigate between the four behaviours, you need to be both familiar with them and typically also have the tools to develop the areas where you are not naturally strong.
What is good leadership?
Most leaders go to work with a goal of delivering a good job. Nevertheless, some leaders fail every day because they fail to lead in a way that fits the context in which they work.
Good leadership is very much about behaviour and depends on context. And there are several ingredients to a good recipe.
Good leadership can be learned
At People & Performance, we believe that good leadership can be learned, trained and developed. That is why we deliver tailor-made leadership development programmes based on your leadership context. The aim of our leadership courses is to help you develop and adapt your leadership behaviour to your reality.
Our training programmes are based on research and all our consultants have many years of experience. This is your guarantee of a leadership development programme that works in practice.