Resilient Leaders Know “Soft Skills”
A recent national study by Dale Carnegie Training placed the number of “fully engaged” employees at 29%, and “disengaged” employees at 26% – meaning nearly three-quarters of employees are not fully engaged (aka productive). The number one factor the study cited influencing engagement and disengagement was “relationship with immediate supervisor. So what determines if a relationship works? Daniel Pink suggests that engaged employees want autonomy, ability to grow in place, and meaningful work.
These 3 desires are the offshoot of a leader who practices these skills:
Clear communication and great listening. An employee can’t be autonomous unless the leader is confident of getting results. This means the leader has to set clear goals—in conversation with an employee—and then listen non-judgmentally as to what the employee thinks he/she needs tog et the job done. It’s a two-step process BEFORE a leader can actually step back.
In order to grow in place, a leader must be able to practice career conversations. Only when a leader has genuine concern about direct reports, can ask critical questions, and can be perceptive as to what an employee means by “grow in place” will this be achieved.
Meaningful work covers the gamut from work that is significant to the community—to the world—to being appreciated and valued because the work tasks are meaningful to the leader and other stakeholders. However, a leader does not ASSUME an employee knows the work is personally meaningful to others. Rather, a resilient leader does not hesitate to appreciate openly and specifically the impact of an employee’s efforts.