As we prepare for the return to work, it will be essential to consider adjusting our leadership style to account for increased employee stresses. By adjusting our style we can increase employee trust, lessen the impacts of stress, and create the conditions for increased productivity.
Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units, Gallup estimates. This variation is in turn responsible for severely low worldwide employee engagement. Gallup reported in two large-scale studies in 2012 that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged.
This can be achieved by taking the time to recognize what our leadership style is, and considering whether or not it is the one best suited to the time at hand.
Which leadership style are you?
There are six generally recognized leadership styles, and a successful leader will need to pick the leadership style, or combination of styles, that best meet the situation at hand.
“Do as I tell” – Successful when the cost of failure is high but may create resentment in management.
“Come with me” – Successful when you need quick results or big change is needed, with the risk of becoming authoritarian.
“People come first” – Successful in stressful situations or when trust needs repairing, may allow mediocrity to become acceptable.
“What do you think” – Successful when you need buy-in, with the risk of too many meetings and too few decisions.
“Do as I do” – Successful when you need quick results, with the risk of lowering morale through reduced trust.
“Try this” – Successful in developing employee strengths, with the risk that the manager may not have the expertise.
Now more than ever, it is important to be introspective and consider whether or not the style that has worked for me, my team, my company in the past is relevant to the situation that is upon us today.
I am of the belief that we should consider tweaking our style to become a little bit more affiliative in the short term, as your employees manage through increased stresses both at home and at work.
What are some of the ways that you are looking to drive engagement, manage employee stresses, and drive productivity when your employees return to work?