Effective Leadership, to me, requires a true commitment to serve both the organization’s mission/vision and the people that you are responsible for leading. Both are needed and essential. Individuals who don’t demonstrate that they care about the people will never be true leaders. Frankly, they should not be in a position of leadership. I have seen many in my career. I bet, you reading this – you are thinking of the leaders or managers that you have and thinking – that is someone you can remember. When you are thinking of this person – you can almost pinpoint their mistakes. Either not caring about the organization’s mission/vision (which is rare) or the people they are supposed to be leading (usually the case). For those people, they may have short term success, but over time they fail.
There is a way to correct this… It takes leaders at the top of the organizations to do some work. Having a way to measure their managers on employee engagement (I mean their ability to connect) and hold each other accountable. Many companies may survey the managers people within a set of “management” questions. That could work, if the questions were designed to measure connectedness of the manager. For me, there is no substitution to getting out and listening to the managers people. Truly listening with deep understanding.. When it has become apparent that the leader is failing to meet the standard, help them with coaching, mentoring and development. The problem that I see almost all the time is improvement plans start but never finish. Identifying the problem is only part of the solution. All to often change rarely happens. That is where accountability has to come in. If then, they prove to be unable to connect with the people they manager, they should NOT be in leadership roles.
For individuals and organizations to be successful, everyone must be firm on balancing their time that is spent on managing task and connecting with the people (each other). If too much time spent on either side is unhealthy and frankly leads to poor performance. I have seen this work.. A leader investing time connecting with people, the people give their best efforts, focus on what is needed and help each other. The team will be more open to sharing their knowledge and opinions. The team will start to fuel more ideas, innovate and make breakthroughs. A much better place to be (as a leader and member of the organization).