Thursday, May 14, 2015

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 day, 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” is his third book and is available for purchase on Amazon.

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