Characteristics of “engaging” leadership

Despite the proven correlation between employee engagement and sustainable business growth, the former often does not get as much attention as it should. An ongoing study by Aon Hewitt of organisations that score highly on employee engagement measurements while performing better than their peers, business-wise, attributes such dual success to the presence of ‘engaging leaders’ throughout different levels of these organisations.

A blog post on HBR.org describes some of the characteristics of such leaders and how organisations that work at making engaging leadership a part of their culture do so. We’d like to list some of the key takeaways from the above-mentioned blog post.

Three aspects seem to be common to all engaging leaders: some “early stretch experiences” that helped the leaders learn valuable lessons and develop self-confidence, humility and empathy; a strong set of guiding beliefs such as the importance of ‘servant leadership’ or the need to forge personal and emotional connections; and lastly, an array of engaging behaviours that cluster around five themes, which we quote here.

Engaging leaders step up, opting to proactively own solutions where others cannot or do not. They energize others, keeping people focused on purpose and vision with contagious positivity. They connect and stabilize groups by listening, staying calm, and unifying people. They serve and grow, by empowering, enabling, and developing others. And they stay grounded, remaining humble, open, candid, and authentic in their communication and behavior.

Organisations that are striving to institutionalise employee engagement and have to necessarily pursue four actions. First and foremost, employee engagement must be ‘owned’ as a priority by the CEO and needs to be diligently measured. Secondly, the organisation must take steps to develop engaging leaders which may require personalised executive coaching and leadership development programs for the chosen individuals. Thirdly, organisations should look to assess and select the right people using various assessment tools that could indicate the likelihood of them becoming engaging leaders. Last but not the least, engaging leaders must be duly recognised and appropriately rewarded.

As we wrote in an earlier article, keeping a team engaged is by no means easy and it requires employees to share ownership of the motivation process. What business leaders will do well to remember is that this process needs to start right from the top- seldom can you find an engaged organisation without engaging leadership.

Find out how Thought Perfect can help with employee engagement assessment in your organisation as well as the evaluation of leadership effectiveness, using globally-proven methodologies. Get in touch with us now.

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