Engagement - 23 June 2015
Quite a few studies conclusively demonstrate employees are more engaged when they trust their immediate supervisor. And now, in a new study published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management, researchers have discovered a specific leadership style that particularly leads to engagement because of its powerful ability to generate trust.
That style is authentic leadership. Prior studies have focused on the way authenticity increases job satisfaction, creativity, performance, and proactive behaviour. But now what we also know, via these findings, is that it’s actually not enough to just be authentic. In order for engagement to rise, employees need to also perceive you as being authentic.
That means you can be an authentic leader through and through, but if your team – for whatever reason – thinks you’re untrustworthy or questionable, you can kiss engagement goodbye. Your challenge, then, is to not only be authentic but to also make sure you’re behaving in such a way others are left with that same impression.
So how authentic is your leadership style? In the study, the researchers used an academically famous 16-point survey they distributed to hundreds of employees and leaders. For the purposes of brevity, I’ve combined (and rephrased) some of these questions so there’s just eight. Grab a piece of paper, a pen, and see how you go:
1. Do you seek feedback as a way of improving your interactions with your team?
2. Can you accurately describe how employees view your capabilities?
3. Do you say what you mean and express how you feel?
4. Are you willing to admit your mistakes?
5. Are your actions and decisions consistent with your core values and beliefs?
6. Can you list your three greatest strengths and weaknesses?
7. Do your employees know who you truly are as a person?
8. Do you seek out (and carefully consider) your team members’ views – even when they disagree with you?
If you answered ‘yes’ to a majority of these questions, well done. You’re an authentic leader. Or well on the way to becoming one.
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