Evolution Or Revolution

During the first and second industrial revolutions when manufacturing and industrialization were booming, leadership was pretty straightforward.  Leaders told their employees when, where and how to work.  Most leaders made all the decisions and relied on annual performance reviews to rate employees. Communications was one way and from the top down.

Today’s reports about the values and lifestyles of millennials and subsequent generations paint a totally different picture.  A Gallup study reported that 74% of today’s workers are able to move to areas outside their employer’s main site while 52% reported having a say over their hours.  42% told Gallup they work remotely some of the time.

At a time of low unemployment with boomers retiring and a younger job market holding different values, companies wishing to fill vacating positions need to reassess and adapt to the changing landscape if they intend to maintain a viable workforce.

Where To Begin

An organization wishing to move in this direction first needs to recognize and agree that there will be significant changes in the corporate culture.

Unlike the past, decision-making going forward will be shared and teams will have a lot more autonomy.  Similarly, leaders will share credit with their teams and give recognition where due.  Leaders will have to step up and inspire employees while utilizing various forms of feedback, including direct and candid communication. 

Today’s leaders will give their employees a voice to be heard.  He/she will also get acquainted with their employees and ensure that they have the training and tools to do their jobs.

Board And Hr’s Role

Boards that work with HR departments will likely see more success with its CEOs by promoting and encouraging shared leadership.  Doing this may not be easy as it sounds as more than half the employees surveyed by O.C. Tanner, a global employee recognition company, didn’t believe their leader would relinquish jurisdiction at all. 

What was also revealing in the survey is that only 26% of workers reported that their leaders promoted collaboration while 20% said their leaders regularly had reservations about them.  HR departments need to work hand-in-hand with their boards to define qualities for a modern leader.  From that, they can then draft a CEO job description that speaks to these new values.

Leaders who change their focus to the quality of work staff produces rather than their time in will reap greater success according to the study.        Similarly, O.C. Tanner found that a focus on successes rather than failures would also be better. 

The Benefits Of Change

The new leadership connection goals for the future should focus on purpose, accomplishment and fellow workers.  Leaders who network and mentor will achieve greater success.  According to O.C. Tanner’s survey, engagement went up 430% due to meaningful interaction between leaders and employees while positive staff opinion of leaders increased 432%

The final conclusion to O.C. Tanner’s report suggested that when leadership adapts to this new style, the company will also benefit by having 13 times the number of its employees engaged.  They forecasted that such companies would be twice as likely to see an increase in revenue while being three times less likely to have employees who experience burnout.

This evolution in leadership style will not only help today’s leaders excel, but will reduce turnover in an employee population whose values have changed.

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