SACS partnered recently with Deakin Uni on a major study into staff engagement. More than 2700 people from an extremely wide range of industries participated in the study. One of the things we looked at was leader behaviours. We found 10 categories of these behaviours which drove levels of engagement in staff.
The leader behaviour which had the biggest impact on the levels of engagement of the staff surveyed was the degree to which leaders encouraged their staff to make their own decisions.
There are quite a few implications of this:
- Top down leadership is extremely demotivating for staff
- Leaders who delegate have more engaged staff, because delegation is an act of empowerment
- Leaders who learn to facilitate the decisions of staff, rather than tell them what to do, have more positive and energetic staff.
- Good leaders have “range” where they are good at choosing when to empower people and when to be more directive. Good leaders are capable in leading with both leadership styles.
This matters, because engagement can be shown to be one of the best predictors of staff productivity of any measure ever developed (e.g. Bakker et al, 2011). SACS developed a 360 degree feedback tool to measure this and other key leadership characteristics. Are your leaders leading for engagement?
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Bakker, A.B., Albrecht, S., & Leiter, M.P. (2011). Work engagement: Further reflections on the state of play. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20, 74-88