Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Leadership A "Soft" Skill?

Is Leadership A "Soft" Skill? 

NO!  Strong results are a direct effect of good leadership. An effective leader understands the connection between leadership, performance and people development. She builds a culture that promotes and rewards personal growth.

Lack of leadership commitment to people performance can have an enormous cost. An effective organization has a team of enthusiastic, motivated employees. What if some employees are not motivated and maybe even become demotivated?

Employees in an organization fall into one of four quadrants. Employees in each quadrant impact organizational results.

In his first day, a new hire is motivated but not yet competent. Through orientation this employee moves from quadrant 1 to quadrant 2. He is now a motivated, functioning member of the organization.

Unfortunately, over time many employees move from quadrant 2 to quadrant 3. They are competent but have lost motivation. They go through the motions but make no effort to improve and excel.

The extent of this problem is well documented. “A mere 14 percent of employees around the world are highly engaged in their work. In other words, roughly 85 percent of people at work are giving significantly less of themselves than they could.” From the Towers Perrin Survey of 86,000 employees around the world.

Employees move from quadrant 2 to 3 for numerous reasons, including no connection to the mission of the organization, weak supervision, confusing direction and siloed operations.

When these conditions persist some employees move to quadrant 4. They are demotivated, they lose interest over time, and they become incompetent.

This takes a person far beyond the lack of motivation we saw in quadrant 3. People in quadrant 4 complain in the parking lot with the fatal disease called ………….

Ain’t It Awful Here?

Their negative attitudes poison the organization’s culture and the work of others.

The lower productivity in quadrants 3 and 4 has an enormous cost. If 30% of employees in a 200 person organization with a $8 million payroll are in quadrant 3 and are only 60% productive the cost is $960,000. If we assume a product / service gross margin of 30% the organization must sell $3.2 million to recover the wasted payroll investment.

In addition to productivity costs, employee failure costs include time wasted by managers, the cost of repairing fractured team morale, and replacement hiring costs.

Effective leadership is key to employee and organizational achievement.

Effective leadership builds a results based culture based of enthusiastic, motivated, confident employees committed to achieving the organization’s vision. Employees desire to improve personally and to meet challenging goals. They feel valued and rewarded.

Effective leaders understand a basic truth: no company with unhappy unmotivated employees ever performed well. Ongoing employee development strengthens results and brings competitive advantage in your marketplace.

Thanks to Tom Northup, LMI and author of the book, "Five Hidden Mistakes CEOs Make; How to Unlock the Secrets that Drive Growth and Profitability" endorsed by Marshall Goldsmith author of the New York Times best seller, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" and Mike Weaver, Achievement Associates, to whom he credits much of this material.

AnchorHelping Columbus LEAD for over 40 years.
Michael D. Diercks