By Dean Bocari | Follow him on Twitter here
“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say I.And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say I. They don't think I, They think we… They think team. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but we gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”
— Peter Drucker
A leadership lesson on why effective engagement begins at your desk.
I was talking to an executive of a large airline company recently, regarding the subject of transparency.
“I feel like a cop” said the airline executive, “I feel like my employees are constantly covering things up and lying to me.”
I looked at him and asked, “How involved are your workers in the decision-making processes that drive X airline’s business?”
“None of it” said the executive.
Then I asked my second question: “How much of what happens behind closed doors, during executive board meetings, is actually revealed to the majority of your staff?”
“Eh, less than 25%”, he replied.
ME: “If you are ‘constantly covering things up’, and if you aren’t being forthcoming to the members of your organization -- how the hell can you expect them to reciprocate?”
Leaders that want to drive engagement in the workplace, should start by taking a look in the mirror. In most cases, the health of an organization is a direct reflection of the health of its leadership.
The days of CEOs that do nothing more than deliver motivational speeches about "Integrity" and "Collaboration" are long gone. Transparency begins with you. Good leaders understand that this is more than a skill, it's a way of being.
Regardless of whether a company is led by one or led by many makes no difference -- the old saying, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” would be a suitable metaphor to describe how the individual leader (CEO, founder, manager) and/or the leadership team needs to make sure that they themselves are living up to the standards they’d like to see within their organization before they get everyone else on board in an attempt to cultivate an environment that drives engagement.
In order for leaders to drive more engagement within their organizations, it’s critical that they “live it” themselves before they push their expectations on their workers.
“Change” is possible, but first we (as leaders) must want to change, and second, we must take consistent action towards making those changes that we desire.. Only then can we even begin to think about inspiring change within our respective organizations.