FB Its Time for a Leadership Reformation(2)

It’s Time for a New Kind of Leadership

It’s Time for a New Kind of Leadership
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

    Bad bosses plague our workplaces. By the looks of the articles, posts and books being published, it isn’t getting any better. If anything, it’s getting worse.

    Maybe we should do something to change that.

    After all, there is no sense in complaining if we aren’t willing to find a solution to make it better. Right?

    What’s the problem?

    Most people are not engaged at work. According to Gallup’s latest research published in “It’s the Manager,” 85% of the world’s workforce reports that they are not engaged workers (Clifton & Harter, 2019).

    That’s a problem because:

    • we spend a lot of time at work,
    • businesses expand a lot of money paying salaries,
    • and companies with disengaged workers are not as successful as those with engaged workers.

    So, what do people report that they need in order to be engaged in their work?

    Not surprisingly, Gallup says:

    • Workers want to know why their work is purposeful and how it affects the greater good.
    • People want support from their bosses to help them develop and grow individually.

    But Why? What’s Causing It?

    For over two decades, I experienced first-hand the extreme differences in teams that had strong, positive leaders versus teams that had poor leaders.

    I watched employees with passion and drive frustrated by bosses who were afraid of change, afraid of being outshined by their team, afraid of losing respect.

    Sadly, I felt the demoralizing effect that weak leaders had on the success and production of their teams.

    I witnessed the fatigue and dissatisfaction of intrinsically motivated people who every day had to fight against a boss who refused to innovate, refused to find ways to stay competitive with the times, and refused to find solutions to problems that the customers were facing. A boss who told employees to deal with customer complaints but refused to let them find better solutions.

    Someone who put out fires of motivation instead of kindling them.

    You might think the problem is with a workforce that is always dragging, who isn’t loyal and who doesn’t really take any initiative to do their jobs.

    But that really is not the problem.

    Now brace yourself…

    It is not the workers.

    It’s a lack of leadership.

    But it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Leadership Deficits

    Part of the problem lies with people being promoted into supervisor or manager positions without adequate preparation or mentorship. The issue is not with a lack of desire to lead well, but with the lack of preparation. Many managers could be strong leaders, but they have not yet been provided with the foundation in leadership that is needed to be able to effectively lead.

    Those with formal management degrees may be missing essential content on the practical application of leading teams. Management preparation programs often deal with the operational side of leading: finance, compliance, processes, etc., but may completely skip the soft skills required to be a successful leader.

    Even those who go through programs designated as “leadership” preparation programs may not be ready for real-world leadership because the programs lack authentic opportunities to experience the challenges of leadership and practice the leadership strategies that have been learned.

    If you are one of these ill-prepared managers, please don’t take offense. I was one, too.

    A Story of a Struggling Leader

    The first two years of my first leadership position was an exercise in frustration and misery, both for me and for those I tried to lead. My passion burned too hot and I tried by mandate to achieve what I knew was best for us. I implemented programs that I had researched and that I knew were best for achieving our organizational goals. I even attempted to use change management models, but the top-down model I utilized only made things worse.

    My heart was right, but my method was wrong. As you may have guessed, I learned more about REAL change management the hard way in that first position than in all the years during my formal studies.

    You would think that I would have been prepared for leading. But I wasn’t. My formal program focused on management far more than it did on leadership.

    Management, or Something Else?

    Management is important, but management is not enough.

    It’s important because it controls the chaos that can exist in organizations. The processes and the quality controls are necessary for many functions and helpful in allowing essential business functions to occur quietly and systematically in the background.

    But when it comes to the real business of the business, leadership is needed.

    Because the real business of any business is its people.

    The workers and the customers are your business. Your business wouldn’t exist without them.

    So, it doesn’t really make sense that we focus efforts on managing processes and tasks and focus very little effort on making sure that the people, the workers and the customers, have what they need.

    Gallup’s latest book “It’s the Manager” reiterates its most important all-time research-based finding that “70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.” (Clifton & Harter, 2019, p.12)

    Let that sink in.

    Instinctively you want to argue.

    I know, me too.

    But there’s this:  a team with a great leader means high employee engagement.

    The same team with a lousy leader means low employee engagement.

    The workers are the same group of people. The difference is the leader.

    If you don’t believe me, think of the highest performing team you know of and think also of the lowest-performing team- now, switch the leaders. How do you think both teams will perform?

    How long would it take before the effect of the leader began to show?

    Even more than that, Gallup identifies that being highly engaged at work for modern workers means having a job with purpose and meaning and a manager that helps to further the worker’s personal development.

    So, what does this mean for us?

    Business success depends on the managers. And the manager needs to know how to lead people.

    The question then becomes “How does one lead for worker engagement?”

    In the midst of my first (painful) leadership experience, I began the search for the answer. For twenty years, I internalized the information from research studies, leadership books and blogs, my experiences coaching and growing other leaders and my real-life leadership lessons learned.

    The good news is that strong leadership is not reserved only for those who are naturally charismatic or those who are intense extroverts. Despite the failed leadership ideas of the 20th century (such as the “Great Man” theory), there are no magic personality traits that determine that someone absolutely will be a successful leader.

    The clearest path to improving the leadership in our workplaces is as simple as focusing on the key actions in which successful leaders engage and reforming, or changing, our leadership practice to include these key actions.

    The only requirement to become a successful leader that provides what today’s workforce needs is a fierce determination to adapt your leadership practice and incorporate actions into your daily experience to meet the needs of your team.

    We need to change the way we lead. I SAY WE START A REFORMATION.

    What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts on what we need to do to improve employee engagement.

    Reference:  Clifton, J. & Harter, J. (2019). It’s the Manager. New York: Gallup Press.

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    When she's not helping others learn how to lead successful lives, Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    When she's not helping others learn how to lead successful lives, Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

    Latest Release

    Dr. Baker's new book, Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, helps you stop the stress, find peace and live your best life in spite of a toxic work environment.

    Sign up to receive leadership tips straight to your inbox.

    Check out Our PACED Leadership Course

    Is Your Home Office Camera Ready?

    Is Your Home Office Camera-Ready?

    Check out these home office essentials from Amazon and make WFH even more fabulous!

    XCM_CUTTLE_1402545_2135193_US_CUTTLE_300x300_en_US

    Let's Get Moving!

    Grab some fitness essentials and get your fitness on with all those positive brain chemicals flooding through your body!

    Now, It's Your Move

    A leadership training experience that will change the way you think about leadership

    PACED Leadership Program: How to Create a Healthy, Positive Team

    Looking to create a positive and healthy workplace and take your leadership to the next level? You are in the perfect place!

    • Learn how to create an environment where people feel safe, supported, motivated, and inspired as we guide you through creating your own action plan for success.
    • Analyze your current performance and set goals for accountability, coaching, empowerment, setting purpose and vision and exhibiting courage in your leadership.

    Leaders will learn the five actions that make a difference in leadership: accountability, coaching and developing others, being courageous, empowering the team, and helping each team member understand how their work is purposeful. Wondering why leadership and workplace culture are so important? Dr. Sara Baker, founder of the Leadership Reformation with 15+ years of leadership experience, explains it all in this engaging course.

    • Leaders who take this course will learn the five essential actions that make a healthy workplace.
    • These actions will help leaders create an environment where employees feel accountable, supported, and motivated.
    • This online leadership development course is easy to access and well-suited for busy leaders.
    • Define and set goals to create a healthy team with your Personalized (and printable) Leadership Plan

    Leaders who complete the course will be better equipped to coach and develop their team members, create a more positive work environment, and understand how their work contributes to the overall purpose of the organization.

    Be the leader that you are capable of being with our leadership development program!

    Explore how you can leverage leadership styles, improve your communication, build relationships with your team, and engage and motivate your team members.
    Defeat toxicity in the workplace by becoming a force for positive leadership.
    Learn how your leadership actions can equip your team for success and reflect on the type of leader you are currently and the type you want to be.

    Included Bonuses:

    • Leadership vs Management course and 30-day plan (valued at $197) to transform the dreary tasks of management and view them through the engaging eyes of leadership!
    • New! Leadership Action Plan with in-depth guidance and discussion to help you create your personalized leadership plan based on our all-time most popular leadership plan, 5 Powerful Action Steps to Leadership (valued at $197)

    We use a variety of engaging formats, including videos, audio, and reflection guides to help you quickly (and easily) learn all the key concepts of leadership and, most importantly, how to be a good leader.

    This is leadership development on your terms: your time, your way, when and where it’s best for you.

    The PACED Leadership program includes access to:

    • Communicating as a Leader
    • How to Create a Work Environment that is Positive & Healthy
    • Leadership 101
    • How to Motivate and Engage Your Team
    • Nurturing a Positive Mindset
    • Leadership vs Management

    Join us and become part of the Leadership Reformation that is reshaping what leadership means!