The Three E’s of Leadership
There has been an increased focus on the effectiveness of leadership since March 2020. Leadership has always been one of the key elements that separates good companies from great ones, and also illuminates the bad ones. Surveys are conducted, listening tours scheduled, and any number of other devices employed to determine leadership effectiveness. But are these complicated measurement techniques really necessary? I suggest that it is actually very simple to determine how well leaders are performing. It can be measured with the Three E’s of leadership.
Engagement. Highly functioning leaders spend their time finding ways to engage teams in support of the company’s mission. Dysfunctional leaders, on the other hand, are focused primarily on maintaining control. We often refer to them as “micro-managers.” They need to know what everyone is doing at any given moment. Unfortunately, this only disengages the team, and the result is a workforce that only does the minimum required.
True engagement by employees is just the opposite. It reveals itself in teams that are excited and passionate about what the company stands for and how their works supports it. They welcome accountability and expect everyone on their team to do the same. They seek tangible results from the day’s work. Many of them go on to grow into engaged leaders. Engagement is infectious.
Empowerment. Closely following engagement is empowerment. When teams are deeply engaged in the mission, they often seek independence to create new ways to contribute to the ongoing success of the company. Strong leaders encourage this independence and creativity by empowering them to take on additional risk and granting them the freedom to experiment with potential solutions. In some cases, these trials don’t work out, but in many more, they result in breakthroughs in efficiency. Empowering individuals to take ownership of their contributions leads to a stronger and more invested workforce.
“An engaged and empowered workforce will generate powerful results.”
Endorsement. An engaged and empowered workforce will generate powerful results. And while those accomplishments provide a certain level of internal satisfaction, it is important that outstanding outcomes are recognized by the leadership of the organization. This doesn’t automatically translate into compensation or monetary recognition (although it certainly can). Look at the definition of endorsement: “…an act of giving one’s public approval or support to someone or something.”
Endorsement can, and should, come both before and after a successful outcome. Encouraging employees throughout the process is important to foster and maintain motivation. Often, the employee knows what they should do to contribute an improvement to the company, but needs leadership to acknowledge support of that contribution.
By engaging your teams in the mission, the work, and the details of the organization, then empowering them to do what they need to do to maintain momentum, and finally endorsing the actions they take and the results they produce, you create an effective leadership strategy that will perpetuate ongoing success. This, in turn, will continue to challenge everyone on the team. The result is an effective team comprised of strong individuals who stay with the organization and grow right along with it. Retention becomes an afterthought, and that is the ultimate test of any leadership team.
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