It’s no secret that leadership has a direct impact on employee engagement. Good leadership creates engaged employees; and bad leadership leaves employees alienated and demoralized, resulting in an estimated $300 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. each year. An executive for Hogan Assessments proposes a strategic leadership model that can keep your organization on the right track.
We’ve all had one of those bosses. You know, the one that was arrogant, manipulative, passive aggressive, emotionally volatile, distrustful of others or quick to micromanage their employees’ every moves. “Unfortunately, these behaviors seriously undermine employees’ trust and prohibit leaders from creating and maintaining a high-functioning team—which is the definition of failed leadership,” said Christopher J. Duffy, VP of Consulting for Hogan Assessments. In fact, research indicates that two-thirds of the managers in corporate America—business, government, education, healthcare—are ineffective or incompetent and ultimately will fail because they are unable to build or maintain a functioning team.
According to Duffy, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. “Good leaders are simply people others are willing to follow,” he said. “The secret is finding individuals with the four essential characteristics that people look for most in their leaders: integrity, judgment, competence and vision.”
Effective Leadership: Do Your Leaders Have These Four Essential Characteristics?
Integrity – People need to know that the person in charge won’t take advantage of his or her position—won’t lie, steal, play favorites and betray subordinates. Unfortunately, many do. In a Hogan Assessments survey of more than 1,000 individuals, 81% said trustworthiness was the most personality characteristic of their all-time best boss. Conversely, 50% described their worst boss as deceitful. Trust in one’s superior predicts the entire range of desirable organizational outcomes: productivity, job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Judgment – The welfare of subordinates directly depends on the judgment of their superiors, and some people have better judgment than others. In fact, most business failures are the result of bad decisions that are compounded by an unwillingness to evaluate the decisions and change direction.
Competence – Good leaders are perceived as knowing what they are talking about, as being competent in the team’s business. Subordinates see leaders who lack business acumen as empty suits, and are unwilling to follow them. In a Hogan Assessments survey, 48% of respondents described their best boss as good at business strategy.
Vision – Good leaders explain to their team the significance of their mission and how it fits into the larger scheme of things. This vision clarifies roles, goals and the way forward, thereby facilitating team performance.
Closing the Gap
For most people, there’s a gap between who they think they are (their identity) and how others perceive them (their reputation). As a result, they often seem to say one thing and do another. This gap corrodes relationships and inhibits leaders’ abilities to inspire followers.
How can you close the gap? According to Duffy, through strategic self-awareness.
“Strategic self-awareness is all about understanding how your underlying personality characteristics influence your ability to be a good leader and to exhibit characteristics in these four critical dimensions,” he said.
“Our leadership model—comprised of personality assessments, feedback and targeted coaching—can measure individuals’ reputations or how others are likely to perceive them,” added Duffy. “From that, we’re able to provide individuals with strategic self-awareness—a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, their core values, their innate tendencies, their problem-solving abilities, how they relate to those of their peers, and how they are likely to affect their performance. They can also take active steps to work on any development areas that might be lacking.”
The Ultimate Goal: Improved Performance Since good leadership is the single most important factor determining success in business, having a multi-dimensional approach to assessment that paints a detailed portrait of each participant’s leadership capabilities can go a long way toward ensuring your organization has the right people in the right leadership positions