Recently, Gallup reported that engagement levels in the US have reached the highest level they’ve ever been, revealing there are approximately 10 million more people engaged at work. Intrigued by the recent spark in engagement over the past decade, Gallup dug deeper to determine the cause of the increase. Their research indicates that changes in employee engagement are best attributed to changes in how organizations develop employees.
When we spend time developing employees, we demonstrate they are cared about and valuable to the organization. People are more likely to be engaged when they have opportunities to grow and when they have someone who supports their goals and aspirations. Understandably, employees want to know how to grow and advance in their careers and personally.
When leaders spend time identifying the aspiring leaders on our teams, we are better able to retain our most talented employees and keeping our solid performers challenged and engaged. Proactively developing individuals also helps the organization stay agile and prepared for succession planning or if a role opens unexpectedly.
Do you know what your direct reports are passionate about? Are there opportunities to delegate some of your responsibilities to develop new leaders? Planning professional development specific to the employee helps us to support our new leaders in the areas that they need they most help.
Impact During a Crisis
The culture building that we’ve done over the last 8 years of just really focusing on leadership as a behavior rather than title because there’s no way we could have done what we’ve done if we were reliant on just our leadership team. – Corey Golla, Superintendent of the School District of Menomonee Falls | EP 70: Cultivate a Can-Do Culture
Whether or not an individual is in a position of leadership, we need all employees to lead their own work. People can be leaders regardless of their job titles. A leader is ready to go first, leads by example and motivates others to follow. Organizations benefit from leaders in all roles to continuously improve and be successful – especially during times of crisis.
For individuals who are invested in their work, it is more than a job, they take ownership of their work and are deeply committed to their goals. A mindset of leadership across team members keeps organizations moving forward and focused on success amid disruption. Uncertainty, emotions and anxiety caused by crisis impacts our ability to work, but when people feel responsible for their outcomes, understand how their work makes a difference and are supported by their leaders they’re empowered to move forward by making the next right choice.
When we develop the people on our teams before a crisis hits, they will have the needed skills for when the time comes. We are also more likely to retain the talented individuals on our team – that will be essential for innovating and problem-solving during tough times – if we provide them support and growth opportunities to begin with.
As an executive leader, pay special attention to the development of mid-level leaders, who are often the owners of the execution and progress monitoring of organizational goals. It is the mid-level leader who cascades the direction and goals from the executive leadership team to the individuals who will create action plans and align their daily work to the outcomes that matter most. It is also likely the mid-level leader oversees the most employees, meaning they need to become masterful communicators of messages across all levels and business units.
Reflect on the development of mid-level leaders within your organization. Is there more you can be doing to support these individuals?
How are your aspiring leaders being developed? When the next crisis hits will your organization benefit from an army of owners ready to implement solutions?
EP 70: Cultivate a Can-Do Culture
with Corey Golla