Leadership That Triggers Employee Success Right Before Your Eyes!
Great employees have an intangible that sets them aside from their peers, and that is they have an unyielding desire to exceed their colleague’s expectations, and always seem to add that extra personal touch as that last exclamation point to a job well done. They are self-motivated, exude positive energy, and possess an unrelenting will to win. These individuals are the employees that I refer to as “get-it-done” or “goal-line-crossers”. These are those change-agents that when leadership has an absolute, must have challenge that needs to succeed at all costs, these are the personalities who are sought after, and accept the assignment, no matter how difficult, with a smile. They are the proverbial ace in the hole, and when the task is handed over to them, leadership has no doubt that victory will be achieved. Every business has these go-to employees who just seem to find a path forward and have the ability to make it happen.
These get-it-done employees are the human talent that every business desires to have on staff, and they have a work ethic that is admired and difficult to teach. These goal-line-crossers recognize alternative hard workers and help establish that exceptional cultural allure, along with a high productivity of working excellence. Most interesting, and perhaps one of the greatest secrets in business, is that these same employees are more abundant than anyone realizes. The reason for this misnomer is that get-it-done personalities naturally flourish under emotionally intelligent leaders, and either become obscure under lesser leadership or move on to another company. It’s not surprising to me, because becoming an emotionally intelligent leader takes purposeful and deliberate daily effort, but its attainment can increase your team’s productivity by as much as 30% or more.
This special alliance does not occur by happenstance though, two key ingredients are essential for this winning formula to occur, hiring superior talent and having equally superior leadership in place. More often than not though, leadership is put in place based on their business accomplishments, and not based on their past people skills. Given this reality, all hope is not lost to finding this powerful business differentiator and the answer is right before your eyes! Leadership needs to look no further than in the mirror and across their desk. Culture is a by-product of leadership. However, the challenge is for local leadership to believe in, and embrace emotionally intelligent leadership as a style, and not as a soft skill. It can’t be turned on, and turned off when the mood suits you. It needs to be lived and practiced each day, but the good news is that it’s not hard. It simply demands any given leader’s daily attention until emotional intelligence becomes natural. People focused leadership is no different than an improved golf swing or tennis stroke. It does take practice, but if employed a culture of high morale, excellence and high productivity are the reward.
To highlight the difference between an emotionally intelligent leader and a people manager, let’s evaluate an all too common day in the life of an executive.
A Vision of Excitement
The first step to attracting superior talent is a compelling vision. This is not to say that every business has to have a world altering mission statement, but at minimum, employees desire to work for an individual who positively energizes them. Further, aspiring employees are searching for a job with an opportunity for upward mobility, and ideally, to be part of a growing company that is making a favorable difference to society. Regardless of whether all of these variables coalesce or not to the job seeker, a dynamic leader who connects on an emotional level is highly attractive. Employees will accept a position to simply find work, but they intuitively desire more. A leader’s introduction to the business and their excitement toward the future paves the way to hiring exceptional employees, and more importantly, sets the tone for their excitement toward work and workplace general enthusiasm. Again, culture is a by-product of leadership, and leadership gets exactly what they desire whether purposeful or not. That first contact during the initial phone screen and more importantly during that first sit down interview is the very first opportunity to establish a culture of excellence, hard work, and achievement. It starts and ends with leadership. If you aspire to have great employees as part of your team, become one.
Engage your employees
Leadership is not hard, but people make it hard. When leadership recognizes the power of their actions and words on their staff, and they genuinely have their best interest in mind, employees see it, and feel it. Every leader should take this to heart, who you are, speaks louder than any words you say! Every single employee wants their boss to take an interest in their work and career. When an employee feels their boss has their best interest in mind, and knows what they are working on. This personal connection sets the stage for not only accountability, but it creates a two-way opportunity where both parties win. The employee gets the chance to interact with and impress their boss, while at the same time; it provides leadership with a motivated and engaged employee. A leader’s sacrifice is time, but the few minutes of time invested in understanding your team’s personal and work interests, provides for an enormous return on investment. Further, a true emotionally intelligent leader has a multiplicative effect on the larger organization because that individual begins to light the collective fire of the greater entity. They become the spark that ignites the cultural catalyst of professionalism and superior accomplishment.
Empower your team
No employee wants a micro-manager looking over their shoulder. If you hire smart, ambitious, get-it-done employees, get out of their way and challenge them to exceed your expectations. Moreover, if you want to truly engage a reporting structure, there is no better way than to include them in the strategic vision to grow the business. When someone feels that they can make a positive business difference and experience in its growth and reward, then true motivation is unleashed. No work challenge or form of intimidation can elicit the same unbridled desire to win and succeed. Giving your team the ability to accomplish greatness creates the ultimate stretch goal or career challenge. Winners have an inherent desire to win and succeed; why not let them go for it within boundaries. True emotionally intelligent leadership focuses their team and leverages their best efforts which in turn results in a collective win, where the leader is seen as the critical presence in the background. While that leader may be out of sight, they are very much part of their employee’s minds and spirits.
While I recognize this line of thinking is not the accepted business norm, emotionally intelligent leadership is the difference between having a great company versus an average one. Naturally, a killer strategic plan and equally effective infrastructure is what every executive focuses upon, but if the wrong leadership is put in place; company greatness is likely to be elusive. Great companies have a working infrastructure and culture in place that is created by people, not product and processes. While the latter are important, they are only two legs of the stool, and a two legged stool does not offer a particularly stable foundation. Whereas if one embraces emotionally intelligent leadership, this difference can help your business achieve superior results by harnessing that near magical business intangible that is your greatest asset, which are people.