“Many widely held beliefs about leadership are incongruent with the scientific evidence,” notes a Harvard Business Review article about leadership potential . It’s largely accepted that leadership assignments depend upon certain circumstances, the article notes.
The reality is, some people “have a much higher probability of becoming leaders, regardless of the context.” Effective leadership results from emotional intelligence, integrity, curiosity, and ambition.
Those responsible for assigning leadership must recognize that leaders’ personality traits foster business outcomes: At present, only “30% of employees are engaged, costing the U.S. economy $550 billion a year in productivity loss.”
Another shocking reality: An incredible 82% of employees lack trust in their boss, and over half quit jobs because of poor managers.
“Research indicates that 30%-60% of leaders act destructively, with an estimated cost of $1-$2.7 million for each failed senior manager,” the journal notes.
Clearly, disconnect exists between leadership and work teams; losses of dollars, time, customers, and employees experienced and sustained in absence of trusted management.
Research shows certain personality traits and interpersonal skills make good leaders.
Some traits are inherent. Managers can hone others by honestly assessing their practices and capabilities, and not only striving to become their authentic selves, but making meaningful connections with those they supervise.
‘Truth is point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked.’—Peter Guber, entrepreneur
Do you know what prevents you from “getting real”?
SmartBrief asks, “ What’s the Biggest Obstacle To You Investing In Your Own Development? ” For 42% of survey respondents—a plurality—lack of time prevents career growth.
Other reasons include no budget (20%); development not needed (1%); no available opportunities (8%); boss won’t allow it (7%); and other reasons or combinations of previous reasons.
Finding time is imperative, the article notes. “If you’re not doing your job as efficiently and effectively as you can, you’re wasting time on rework, fixing problems, or generally not knowing the best way to do something…it’s not up to your boss…it’s purely on you.”
“There is no better teacher than life and no better leadership lessons than what you’ve learned from experience,” notes Entrepreneur .
The article says “we have lost our authenticity…what it means to be ourselves.”
Leaders categorized as “followers” are insecure, competitive, and concerned about status and “one-upping.” Conversely, leaders we admire “approach success from a different mindset” by demonstrating 10 qualities of authenticity.
Authentic leaders are also visionaries, demonstrate healthy ego, possess good character, and rely upon their experience to navigate obstacles.
Ultimately, “Leadership is About Emotion,” notes Forbes. Strong leaders clearly demonstrate the ability to inspire: “This ability to reach people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational is a mark of a great leader,” the article notes.
This environment allows work teams to dig into their “best selves and deliver amazing work.”
Natural talent is part of the equation, according to the article, but people can learn and polish leadership skills.
Great leaders implement these tools:
The inspirational leader also will demonstrate kindness and respect, and will collaborate with staff to help them reach their goals.
“Leadership is both an art and a science…Everyone has to develop his or her own leadership style,” the article concludes.
‘Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.’—Albert Schweitzer, theologian
When one has begun to walk the path of a great leader, one can incorporate strategies to stay the course.
Communication is key, and it’s necessary to distinguish the difference in interpersonal relations between management and leadership, notes a post at skipprichard.com.
Managers view communications as a task on a checklist, but leaders must “articulate where the organization is heading, clarify what employees need to do to help…and share progress and accomplishments.”
When great leaders successfully communicate such messaging, they motivate and connect with employees.
Unfortunately, “leaders often lack the clarity, time and skills” required to fulfill this objective.
Five communication errors include:
1. Invisibility. Ineffective communicators fail to conduct briefings, lack presence on digital channels, and don’t take advantage of opportunities to informally mingle with staffers.
2. Messages are too “high level” and fail to make impact due to complexity. Great leaders will concentrate on concrete specifics.
3. Timing is off . When leaders release information after the fact, their credibility sinks. Sharing news prematurely might create anxiety when employees don’t understand how they will be affected.
4. Delivering lectures rather than allowing for discussions during meetings.
5. Poorly handling questions in “an impatient, dismissive way.” Great leaders exhibit candor and patience.
Do you know the “5 Things Leaders Must Do to Stay on Top”? This post at Entrepreneur informs that great leaders will stay great when they are organized, reliable, good listeners, maintain accountability, and demonstrate kindness by showing genuine interest in colleagues.
‘If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both.’—Horace Mann, politician
A recent Gallup post circles back to the importance of employee engagement in business success , and makes further connections between engagement and great leadership.
Merely one-third of American employees are engaged on the job. That’s little changed from 10 years ago.
Companies can enhance productivity “and are leaving money on the table” when they fail to connect with employees.
Although many factors contribute to engagement, a basic one is that employees need to know what the organization expects of them, and need the ability to apply their strengths toward achieving company goals.
“When it comes to building employee engagement and accelerating business outcomes, focusing on strengths is one of managers’ sharpest tools,” the article says. “After zeroing in on the right targets with clear expectations, managers can unleash employees’ greatest performance by focusing on their strengths.”
But to focus on employee strengths, leaders need to have awareness of them. What is the best way for leaders to make such a discovery?
Research findings this week suggest that when leaders tap into emotional intelligence, display integrity and curiosity, and maintain presence of both authority and authenticity, they will inspire and become great leaders.
LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department . Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blog, The Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.