In part two of “A Psychologist Looks at Leadership Styles in Business,” we shared with you some tips to be successful in your position as a democratic or an autocratic leader. In part three, part one, we will discuss a key component, a secret element, which will help you be successful with any leadership style.
Regardless of what style a leader chooses, his or her main task is engaging team members to achieve the team’s goal.
Chicago-based researcher, ISR conducted a study among more than 664,000 employees in 71 companies worldwide and found that there was a difference of almost 52% in one-year performance improvement in operating income between companies with low-employee engagement and companies with high-employee engagement. The high-engagement organisations improved by 19.2%, while the operating income of the low-engagement organisations declined by 32.7% over the period of the study.
Gallup Management Journal’s Employee Engagement Index reported that in the U.S.A., 17% of employees are positively disengaged, 54% of employees are not engaged, and a disappointing 29% are engaged. They estimated that the cost of disengaged employees was between $250 and $350 billion per annum.
What’s clear is that organisations with high-employee engagement are dramatically more successful than those with low-employee engagement (not to mention those with actual disengagement) where it counts most—the bottom line.
One of the questions at the forefront of every results-oriented business leader’s mind must therefore be: How do I develop higher levels of engagement in my people?
There are many measures of just what it is that creates an environment where employees are engaged, and almost as many programs for developing such an environment. Most are aimed at making direct changes in the employees’ environment and work conditions. This is all valuable, but it ignores an extremely important piece of this complex puzzle.
Leadership Charisma and Employee Engagement
The ancient Greeks observed that some people, generally their leaders, had what they perceived to be a mysterious quality that enthralled others and made them want to follow them. Because they didn’t understand what this quality was, and because they couldn’t quite pin it down, they decided that it must be a magical or god-given gift. They even created a special word for this mysterious attribute. They called it charisma—“a divinely conferred gift or power.”
Take a look at the definitions of employee engagement and charisma below:
“a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organisation, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work”
(Definition from The Conference Board)
“a special quality of leadership that captures the popular imagination and inspires allegiance and devotion”
(Definition from www.yourdictionary.com)
It’s obvious that there’s more than a passing connection between charisma and employee engagement. Employee engagement drives business results; charismatic leaders bring people onboard, driving employee engagement. So focusing on becoming a more charismatic leader is a clear way toward obtaining superior results from people.
The Director of Research at the Roffey Park Institute, Jo Hennessy, put it perfectly:
“Charismatic leaders can gather people behind them. They’re inspiring and strong and, if they’re able to engage staff, the results will follow.”
Source: Leadership Charisma Book by Deiric McCann, Jim Sirbasku and Bud Haney
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