What is Great Leadership?

Guest post from Ted Bagley:

All organizations worry about leadership, from the mom and
pop community businesses to the giant global entities both domestic and
international. There is still a propensity to use the word manager verses
leader which can have a significant different intend and meaning. Managers tend
to govern over process, data, projects and products while leaders tend to
utilize human capital to navigate these same areas and participate as part of
the process.

Good leadership is defined as proper training, rewarding,
assisting, coaching and respecting those who “carry the load”. The focus of
leaders is on utilizing people as a company’s most important product, to
establish missions, strategies and goals for the organization. Studies have
shown that, without a doubt, a majority of new entrants leave their employers
first because of ineffective leadership and secondarily for new more suitable
employment opportunities.

Good leadership begins with identifying key resources with
competencies that meets the demands of a business’s vision and strategy.
Connecting with these new resources is paramount to successfully leading and
earning the trust and respect of these key company assets. Many leaders fail to
engage their resources because they don’t know how and literally don’t have the
tools to do so.

Baby Boomer leaders are trying to engage Millennials who are
more strategic, more technically savvy and more impatient than any generation
before them. Many Boomers are frightened by social media like Twitter, LinkedIn
and Facebook which are beginning to invade companies in such a way that is
paralyzing to the harmony of the team that is led, in many cases, by the “type
writer generation”. These young eager beavers will only be patent with these, “less
than impressive leaders”, for a short period of time then, without warning,
will bolt to companies that offer them the challenges, diversity, involvement,
and opportunity that they seek.

Can the generation gap be bridged before the boomers leave
the workplace in significant numbers? Will upper management (Boomers/X’ers) see
the value in including the Millennials is the long range planning process?
After all, they will have to live with the decisions that are made without
their input.

Engaging all of the generations within a culture is of utmost
importance. Because of the economy and the fact that 401k plans are yet to rise
to the level that they had attained pre -recession, the Boomers and the
Traditionalist (small numbers) are still delaying their exit dates.

Engagement is defined as an encounter, conflict,
or battle. That
explains a lot. When a leader encounters his/her resources, their success is
predicated on the approach that is used. Is it inclusive? Does it allow for
differing opinions? Is devil’s advocacy allowed? Is there leading by example?

These are but a few elements that can
cause the “conflict” or “the battle” aspect of the definition to takes center
stage. The element of engagement’s having the most significance is “trust”.
Without it, the efforts to successfully connect are simply an exercise in
futility. A group that lacks trust for their leader will experience high
attrition, increased tension, low productivity and low morale.

Companies tend to go through a litany of buzz words from holistic approach, strategic, at the end of the
, milestone, empowerment and executive presence. Many of these words are used to control,
discriminate, separate, and suffocate those who are not in management’s favor
or considered having less upward mobility. These same companies tends to use
label like hi potential, key to retain, top talent and other terms which on the
surface, motivates those given the titles while others who are equally as
important to the organization are left to ponder their value. Labels tends to
establish “sub cultures” or the “haves verses the have not’s”.

A solution would be to force leaders to differentiate based
on performance accompanied by constant and current feedback and differentiated
reward systems instead of labels. Companies also use rating systems to reward
and recognize performance and tuck these systems under the guides of pay for
performance. In reality, they are not true pay for performance systems because
there are limits to the percentage of people who fit in each category. A true
pay for performance systems is a differentiating system that is driven by
Individual performance instead of by percentages. It forces leaders to rank
employees base on value, performance and teaming as they consider the budgets
made available to them.

Finally, companies that truly understand the difficulties that
the generation gap presents, values the importance of trust among those on the
team, and seeks help in engaging the new more technically competent workforce,
will emerge as leaders of the pack and succeed at retaining the dwindling
resource pool of technological cyber soldiers within its ranks.

Author bio:

Ted Bagley received his bachelor’s degree in
business from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, and his master’s degree in
psychological and educational counseling from North Carolina Central
University. He is the vice president of global human resources operations for
Amgen Biotechnical Corporation, the world’s largest biotechnical company.
Bagley resides in Simi Valley, California, with his wife and four children. “The
Success Factor: Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Corporate America”
his third book and is available for purchase on Amazon.