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    June 25, 2024

    A Better Approach to Effective Leadership

    The importance of effective leadership and management has grown. The reality is that most employees leave a job because of the relationship with their direct manager. In today’s changing and challenging marketplace, there is a growing understanding of the need for empathetic, adaptive, and authentic leaders to control turnover costs and attract top talent.

    Companies have an opportunity to look at the leadership training they have in place for both seasoned and new managers. A lot of the needed skills, like effective P&L strategy, which focuses on managing or reducing costs and increasing sales, are the main focus. What is often not discussed is how the people in the organization are impacted by financial decisions and do not understand how it can affect both long and short-term job satisfaction and additional costs that may come up if the focus is only on short-term cost savings.

    For years, the idea has been to get people to do more with less.  But we are seeing higher rates of mental health issues, clear signs that younger employers are not willing to work extended hours, even with additional pay, and turnover and recruiting costs continue to be a challenge for many industries.

    Recently The Breakers Palm Beach was recognized as one of the best 100 companies in the U.S. to work for by Fortune Magazine. In the hospitality industry, standard turnover rates are between 70% to 80%. The Breakers' turnover rate is 15%. Their leadership team has built a work culture that is focused on supporting their employees at all levels, including specific benefits and targeted health and wellbeing strategies specific to what their employees need.   Their leaders consistently get a 90+% approval of managers and leaders by their workforce. Their employees trust their leaders. One of the main reasons for their success is leadership training.

    It can feel very comfortable to continue to use a management model that has worked in the past. After going through COVID, the upcoming changes with AI, and the rate of change for everything from the software we are using to the needs in the marketplace, managers and leaders need to be able to adapt quickly. That can feel very uncomfortable for some leaders who have had success in the past. Trying a new approach is not necessarily something they think they can do effectively. One of the ways to start to address this is by creating ways for them to make smaller changes, evaluate the impact and their reaction to it, and repeat. Anything new takes practice.  

    Discussing empathetic leadership can be a challenge. But it is important. Empathetic leaders develop better connections between themselves and their team members. But it isn’t just about the connection. It’s important because empathy increases trust, enhances communication, and helps team members have a better sense of self-worth, which can lead to better productivity. It builds more resilient teams that can better manage change and crisis.

    We all have our view of what a manager or leader should be. If it is a more traditional model, where the leader comes across as distant or all-knowing, that can be detrimental to leading well. It can negatively impact your company if they are seen as being overly ambitious, not giving credit to those that help them look good, or personal behavior that their team may view as unethical. It’s important to understand the qualities that define authentic leadership. Most definitions include integrity. Simply put, they are viewed as being honest, and ethical, and are consistent in how they treat everyone. They are seen as delivering on what they promise. For managers and leaders to address a management style that may not be working, it can’t be about finger-pointing. A more effective approach is training that includes “curious” questions to allow people to recognize something they are doing as a leader that isn’t working.

    Working towards a more human leadership style can provide many benefits for your organization. Focusing on adding specific training for managers to help them be more empathic, more able to adapt to change, and more authentic can help your teams thrive.

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