By Lindsey Zajac | Ahern, Murphy & Associates, Leader Exchange Facilitator
Are you feeling stuck in your leadership role? You’re not alone. It’s easy to get caught up with the day-to-day tasks, but it’s important for organizational leaders to take time out to evaluate their current situation and determine if it is time to integrate new leadership strategies to improve team performance. Here are 5 signs that your organization may need to level up its leadership.
#1 HIGH TURNOVER
A primary sign that an organization needs new leadership strategies is high turnover. High turnover can be a result of workers feeling stuck or disliking their role. Perhaps they are feeling unmotivated, burned out, or overwhelmed by the workload, but it becomes clear that the staff are seeing greener pastures all around them. Worse, however, is when employees don’t feel respected or appreciated by their manager or the organizational leaders at large. This tends to be common among managers and executives who go around catching people doing things wrong as opposed to praising what they are doing right.
The behavior of leaders sets the tone for the entire organization. No one wants to work for a leader who criticizes, undermines, or behaves poorly. Sometimes high turnover doesn’t just equate to employees leaving a company. Frequent internal transfers out of the same team or department often imply satisfaction with the company but dissatisfaction with a particular leader.
Want to combat high turnover rates? Read our blog.
#2 LOW ENGAGEMENT
Another sign that may indicate an organization needs to level up its leadership is when employees become disengaged. Employee engagement can be defined as the degree to which employees invest their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral energies toward positive organizational outcomes. In other words, how motivated and committed an employee is to do what is best for the organization.
According to research from Gallup, engagement in the workplace is directly linked to 21% greater profitability, 41% reduced absenteeism, 51% less turnover, 42% higher stock price growth, 35% higher glassdoor scores, and employees are 12 times less likely to leave. Yet, two-thirds of the American workforce is not engaged or actively disengaged.
In summary, organizations need engaged employees to perform well. Leaders have a direct impact on engagement because they can help inspire people to bring their best selves to work. Leaders can also create work environments where employees feel valued, appreciated, and motivated to perform their best. In fact, employee engagement increases more than two times among those who are recognized. Lastly, leaders can help employees find a greater sense of meaning in what they do and how it impacts the organization at large which helps to improve employee engagement.
#3 LOW OR SLIPPING PRODUCTIVITY
A third sign that it might be time to level up your leadership is if you notice a drop in productivity. Productivity measures the efficiency and output of an employee or team, so this should ideally stay high within any organization. Sometimes, productivity is simply a sign of organizational strain on employees. For instance, if they are short-staffed and don’t have enough help on projects or if they are struggling with tasks because they feel their workload is too heavy, then it is probably worth exploring how to solve these problems.
On the other hand, slipping productivity can also be a sign of too little management or micro-management. Employees may be given conflicting directions that make even simple tasks arduous to complete or the tasks are lacking in adequate instruction or direction preventing the ability to work efficiently and effectively.
As mentioned above in #2, an outcome of disengagement is often reduced productivity. According to Gallup, the cost of disengagement is huge, to the tune of $300 billion in lost productivity every year. Not to mention the impact a disengaged workforce has on retention, customer relations, innovation, and internal conflict.
In conclusion, disengaged employees are coming in and doing the bare minimum so they can leave. Often they are taking more sick days and calling off of work. They aren’t motivated to work faster, smarter or more effectively which ultimately impacts productivity.
#4 LACK OF INNOVATION & PROBLEM-SOLVING
If you are noticing a lack of innovation and problem-solving among your team, it might be time to consider some leadership changes. To stay competitive in today’s world, organizations need creative thinkers who can think outside the box. Furthermore, they need employees who aren’t afraid to speak up and offer insights, ideas or potential solutions to problems.
Oftentimes, in organizations with weak leadership, they haven’t created a psychologically safe work environment where it is conducive to speak up, offer an idea or express a concern. This is very problematic to an organization. Leaders don’t and shouldn’t have all the answers and ideas. They need to rely on the collective intelligence of their teams to foster the best ideas and solutions. Lastly, if leaders are not open-minded enough, they may stymie employees’ input, creative thinking, and design making and resort to just telling employees what needs to happen next.
#5 EMPLOYEE & CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
Frequent employee complaints and concerns are usually an indicator of weak leadership as well. Some of the most common complaints that we hear from employees is that their manager doesn’t communicate consistently and effectively with them, they are not involved in decisions that impact their work, their manager does not care about their job satisfaction, and their manager does not recognize or appreciate them.
All employees want to be heard, acknowledged, and appreciated. If employees feel listened to and feel that their input matters, it will help improve engagement and contribute to a company culture that is more collaborative. In addition, when poor leadership leads to disengaged, underperforming employees, you often see a negative impact on customer satisfaction. You may see an increase in customer complaints due to a bad experience when buying products or services at your organization.
If any of these signs are true for your organization, it is time to consider upgrading your leadership skills. It’s not always easy to admit that change is needed — especially when we’ve climbed to the top — but implementing change and making an impact on the way you lead is worth considering if you see these problems occurring repeatedly.
Leadership can be hard to navigate. Consider taking a leadership development workshop to help improve your company’s leadership.
Do you want to become a better leader? Contact Lindsey TODAY.
Lindsey Zajac: BNP Leader Exchange Facilitator: Lindsey A. Zajac is an experienced, Human Resources professional with a demonstrated history of excelling in fast-paced organizations including PepsiCo, Eaton Corporation, Saab Sensis and Next Jump. Training and Development, Talent Management, Employee Relations, Recruiting, and Succession Planning are Lindsey’s areas of expertise.