Being a good leader who drives results doesn't mean you need to sacrifice employee engagement. In fact, according to a study reported in the Harvard Business Review, the best leaders are able to accomplish both successfully. These leaders understand the value of relationship building and know that to be effective, they must have the best people working for them, those who are actively engaged and devoted to employers.
In their study, Joseph Folkman and Jack Zenger, top executives at Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultant firm, found that leaders who drive results and achieve high employee engagement possess six traits.
1. They're Great Communicators
The best leaders have a clear vision and are able to communicate that vision effectively. They're transparent about their goals and what they want to accomplish. They offer direction and help steer any lost or misguided members of the team. These leaders outline the results they want to see in basic terms and have benchmarks to help employees along the way.
2. They're Motivators
When you're a great leader, you motivate and inspire others to do their very best. You make them want to reach those goals, but rather than pushing them to do better, you pull them toward that goal and show them you're on the road with them. Motivators are charismatic, and as a result, others want to be around them. The best leaders have an open-door policy. They listen to team members, take their ideas into consideration and keep them informed of any changes that might affect their goals. They don't operate with a top-down autocratic leadership style.
3. They're Goal-Oriented
The best leaders use their motivational abilities to keep pulling their employees beyond the main goal and incorporating stretch goals. Stretch goals aren't part of the original goal plan. They're added later when the original goal is met to continue to motivate and encourage employees to work hard and do their very best. These goals could be something like expanding the business' customer base by an extra 5 percent after the initial goal of 15 percent or improving the turnaround time for customer service calls.
4. They're Trustworthy
Great leaders are honest and have integrity. They model the behavior they want their employees to display, and they don't ask their employees to do something they wouldn't do themselves.
5. They're all About Professional Development
The best leaders want the best people working for them, as this makes them look good and usually guarantees great results. They encourage their employees to take part in additional training, such as workshops or seminars. They want their employees to learn about the industry and become knowledgeable in their fields.
6. They Encourage Feedback
Leaders who drive results and engage their employees are happy to get feedback about their own performance and ways to make the organization or operation better. They want to hear about how things are going. Feedback from customers and employees helps them make better decisions. Mistakes happen, and each one of them is a learning opportunity to a great leader.
The best leaders know that without engaged employees, they can't drive the results that make a company successful. Leaders who are motivators, goal-oriented, trustworthy and great communicators help everyone win.
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