Smart leaders intentionally develop "Self -Leadership", the ability to (1) manage stress and frustration, (2) maximize strengths while minimizing struggles and (3) build healthy working relationships with direct reports. Companies with great compensation packages, top-notch benefits and world-class training programs easily attract talented employees. However, if employees don't respect or get along with their direct leader, they are likely to seek another position. Studies show that an employee's relationship with his or her direct manager accounts for 70% of engagement at work.
Good leaders build self-leadership through emotional intelligence. With awareness of their own strengths and struggles and the ability to respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively, the emotionally intelligent leader encourages full team member engagement. A recent study shows that effective managers increase profitability by 48%; productivity by 22%; employee engagement by 30% and customer engagement by 30%. In addition, employee turnover decreases by 19%.
What can your company do to develop highly effective leaders? Here are three ways you can help leaders develop self-leadership:
- Implement a leadership development program which focuses on improving leadership skills. We suggest a tool like RightPath's Leadership Intelligence LQ360 assessment which identifies leadership strengths and struggles.
- Promote employees based on their leadership ability rather than technical knowledge or seniority. Too often, we encounter people in leadership positions with great technical ability and poor leadership skills. This results in frustration, employee conflict, and increased turnover.
- Help leaders continually improve. All leaders, regardless of how long they have been in a leadership role, have room to grow. In fact, the most senior leaders we work with (many CEO's in Fortune 500 companies) intentionally invest in personal development each year.
To tough-minded, bottom-line focused leaders, self-leadership may sound a bit frivolous. However, when a company intentionally develops self-leadership, the entire company becomes more productive, stable and profitable. For those focused on the bottom line, an investment in self-leadership pays high dividends.
How do you help your leaders develop self-leadership? What have you done to strengthen YOUR self-leadership?