How often have you heard that? It rolls off people’s tongues like jelly and it often has no more substance. Cliches tend to become like that. Yet these are powerfully true words. Your people are your greatest asset, but unless they are treated that way, they will react and become your greatest liability.
People join an organisation because they admire and respect what it says it stands for. They leave because the leaders who manage them don’t walk the talk. They also they don’t feel valued, appreciated or acknowledged for the contribution they are making. They disengage long before they leave.
Peter Wilson, the President of the Australian Human Resource Institute, has said that only 24% of employees in Australia are engaged, 60% are neutral – just there but not engaged – 16% are turned off. This results in a $42 billion cost in lost productivity in Australian organisations. Why is this happening?
Research done by Red Balloon has shown that leadership style is responsible for 70% of employee’s engagement. Leaders, however, do often not have the soft skills to motivate and inspire engagement. Nor do they have well-developed self-leadership skills to manage the challenges involved in leading people.
These skills can be developed. They are the skills that show leaders how they can invest in their people so that they can grow. Growth is what we want from every investment. As a result of their investment in them, their people then invest discretionary effort back into the organisation because they trust it will look after them. In turn they will look after their organisation.
Leadership is very demanding today and as global leadership expert, Doug Conant, says: “In an age of unprecedented complexity, dysfunction, mistrust and innovation, it can be hard to keep your head above water, let alone inspire entire groups of people to do extraordinary things day after day.” Yet that is what leaders need to do if they want their organisation to be successful. It all depends on how they treat their greatest assets, their people.
Leaders need to enhance the skills that will see them able to do that, building relationships of trust with their employees that motivate them to give 150%. The focus is on inspiring intrinsic motivation in them so they work with their leader because they share their vision and purpose, rather than on extrinsic motivation where they work for the leader, on condition they are provided with enough motivators.
There are three key motivators that leaders need to embrace if they want to create high performing professional. They need to Engage, Empower and Elevate their people with such conviction that they come to believe they really are your greatest asset. More about how to do that next time.