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Via The Economic Times : Please don’t be mean: Compassion towards staff can boost workplace productivity

WASHINGTON D.C. – Here is a solid reason to be nice to your subordinates, turns out, showing compassion to your employees might actually lead to better productivity.

According to a latest research compassion to subordinates almost always pays off, especially when combined with the enforcement of clear goals and benchmarks.

Chou-Yu Tsai, one of the researchers said, “Being benevolent is important because it can change the perception your followers have of you. If you feel that your leader or boss actually cares about you, you may feel more serious about the work you do for them.”

To find out how both the presence and lack of benevolence affects the job performance of followers, the team of researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military and almost 200 adults working full-time in the United States, and looked at the subordinate performance that resulted from three different leadership styles:

Authoritarianism-dominant leadership: Leaders who assert absolute authority and control, focused mostly on completing tasks at all costs with little consideration of the well-being of subordinates.

Benevolence-dominant leadership: Leaders whose primary concern is the personal or familial well-being of subordinates. These leaders want followers to feel supported and have strong social ties.

Classical paternalistic leadership: A leadership style that combines both authoritarianism and benevolence, with a strong focus on both task completion and the well-being of subordinates.

The researchers found that authoritarianism-dominant leadership almost always had negative results on job performance, while benevolence-dominant leadership almost always had a positive impact on job performance. In other words, showing no compassion for your employees doesn’t bode well for their job performance, while showing compassion motivated them to be better workers.

They also found that classical paternalistic leadership, which combines both benevolence and authoritarianism, had just as strong an effect on subordinate performance as benevolent-dominant leadership. Tsai said the reason for this phenomenon may extend all the way back to childhood.

“The parent and child relationship is the first leader-follower relationship that people experience. It can become a bit of a prototype of what we expect out of leadership going forward, and the paternalistic leadership style kind of resembles that of a parent,” Tsai said.

“The findings imply that showing personal and familial support for employees is a critical part of the leader-follower relationship. While the importance of establishing structure and setting expectations is important for leaders, and arguably parents, help, and guidance from the leader in developing social ties and support networks for a follower can be a powerful factor in their job performance,” another researcher said.

Considering the difference in work cultures between U.S. employees and members of the Taiwanese military, researchers were surprised that the results were consistent across both groups.

“The consistency in the results suggest that the effectiveness of paternalistic leadership may be more broad-based than previously thought, and it may be all about how people respond to leaders and not about where they live or the type of work they do,” said Yammarino, another researcher.

Tsai said his main takeaway for managers is to put just as much or even more of an emphasis on the well-being of your employees as you do on hitting targets and goals.

“Subordinates and employees are not tools or machines that you can just use. They are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect,” said Tsai.

“Make sure you are focusing on their well-being and helping them find the support they need, while also being clear about what your expectations and priorities are. This is a work-based version of ‘tough love’ often seen in parent-child relationships.” Tsai added.

Via The Chronicle : ‘Leaders are born’: the biggest business myth

GENETICS may be responsible for blue eyes and a chiselled jaw, but when it comes to leadership, this is where the work of your DNA stops.

Contrary to popular belief, experts repudiate the common perception that leaders are born and not made, is one of the biggest myths in business.

Recent studies narrow the percentage of leadership linked to genetics to a mere 30 per cent, accounting for attributes like height, sound of voice and physical appearance, which may aid in the influence over others.

That means an overwhelming 70 per cent of a leader’s ability is a result of lessons learned through real life experiences.

What makes a good leader?

Senior lecturer in management at Griffith Business School Rod Gapp, says there is no doubt people can develop their ability to become good leaders, although what we understand to be a good leader has changed dramatically in recent times.

“Leaders are now becoming helpers,” Gapp says. “Traditionally, leaders were very much tellers and instructors.”

According to Gapp, the best leaders are participative and see their role as assisting the people they are leading to achieve their goals.

“There are two things that stand out in the best leaders – they’re good at both structure and consideration. They actually listen to people, hear, understand and create empathy, then give back in a logical structured way how to help that person achieve their task in the most effective way. It’s a jointly owned process,” he says.

The opposite of a good leader is a narcissistic leader – something Gapp says is a danger in the workplace.

“Narcissistic leadership is all about making that person shine and there’s very little consideration back down to the people underneath them,” Gapp says.

But the managers who understand the key to success is having quality leaders at the helm of their company, and place emphasis on the professional development of their managers, are the ones who succeed.

The ‘accidental manager’

For those who find themselves in the awkward position of being an ‘accidental manager’, becoming a great leader can be fraught with difficulty.

These are often people who are highly skilled, hard-working and loyal team members rewarded with managerial roles, albeit without any support, training or guidance.

Thrown in the deep end, they often struggle to cope with the dramatic shift in their role from delivery to direction, placing everyone involved at risk.

But with the right support, resources and networks, these professionals can learn how to transition into leadership roles and go on to achieve great success without the risk of falling into the narcissistic category.

The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations 2014 identified that leaders develop from novices to intermediates to experts, changing their mindset, identity focus, relationships and skills along the way.

By the expert stage, the accidental manager has honed their craft and while they’ll continue to learn and develop throughout their whole career, they’re confident in the role as a leader.

The ‘intentional leader’

It’s not a crime to fall into management ‘accidentally’ – in fact most accomplished and successful leaders start there.

However, in the highly competitive management industry, employers look for ‘intentional leaders’, those committed to the lifelong learning and development journey.

The increasing demand for intentional leaders has seen the introduction of the Chartered Manager accreditation that offers the key to further leadership careers and give managers a competitive edge by proving them as intentional leaders.

The Chartered Manager designation is the highest status you can achieve as a leader and acts as a globally-recognised accreditation to formally recognise leadership experience.

The Institute of Managers and Leaders Chief Executive David Pich says Chartered Managers are required to demonstrate the positive impact they’ve had on their workplace over the past 18 months and how they’ve used the key skills of managing change and leading people to achieve it.

“Chartered Managers stand out as intentional leaders,” Pich says.

“By becoming Chartered, they prove their commitment to management and leadership as a profession.

“Recognition is important at every point in your career. For emerging management professionals, Chartered Manager sets them up to succeed in their current role by establishing a need for continuing professional development and ethical leadership.

“As an experienced and accomplished leader, Chartered Managers add value to their organisations as effective intentional leaders, and are differentiated in the competitive leadership market.”

He says not only is a Chartered Manager accreditation beneficial for the leader themselves, but the entire organisation.

“Organisations with Chartered Managers perform better as these intentional leaders understand leadership is about others,” Pich says.

“The leadership skills they are committed to developing allows them to manage stress, lead ethically, use emotional intelligence and use their abilities to support their team.”

Via Forbes : ‘Feminine’ Leadership: Why More Men Should Practice Empathy In The Workplace

In today’s day and age, it seems like we’re becoming more and more stressed and constantly finding ourselves in fight-or-flight mode. Not to mention, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are on the rise.

So why is this happening?

If we really look at where all of this anguish is stemming from, we’ll find that it’s in our daily interactions — particularly in the workplace — and what’s lacking in these environments.

Historically, people thrived in communities where each person had one skill they cultivated. People excelled when they were working together with a sense of common purpose and they each had one thing they were focusing on. The carpenter worked with wood, the potter made ceramics, the weavers wove, and all worked in symbiotic harmony.

Now, we’ve moved into an individualistic lifestyle, one in which the average person is expected to have a varied skill set and is required to multitask in several directions throughout the course of any given day.

In today’s society, if you only do one thing, it’s often frowned upon. People wonder what’s “wrong” with you. Someone in marketing is expected to do event coordination and graphic design, and programmers are asked to do social media management. There are multiple career abilities layered on top of one another, and having to switch direction and focus over the course of any given day can range from stressful to utterly exhausting and anxiety-inducing.

We need to be able to look at our work environments with more compassionate understanding and awareness. That’s where “feminine” leadership skills come in.

When we think about those historical communities we mentioned earlier, we see that those existed in a time when, traditionally, there was more empathy. There was more emphasis on thinking about others, about family, and a greater sense of love.

Now, we’re in a space where loneliness is rampant. People are depressed, and many people can go for days, or even weeks, without any real connection to other human beings.

So what needs to change?

Quite simply, change is needed in the way organizations are structured. We need to bring in more of that sense of community, collaboration and cooperation. People need to feel a deeper sense of belonging, feeling that they matter and that there’s someone at work who cares about them. People need to feel that the person in charge is sincerely interested in what’s going on in their lives and in what’s happening in their world outside of the workplace — someone who wants to spend real time with them and bring more joy to their lives.

We are well aware of the statistics regarding women in leadership. There aren’t enough women in these roles yet, so we need to call on the men to help bring about change. If men who are currently in leadership roles were to embody more cooperation, collaboration and empathy, and really start listening to their team members, corporations would change for the better.

We need men to treat their team members in such a way as to bring out their strengths. Encourage them. Nurture them. Show team members compassion and how best to bring empathy and love into the workplace. We need men to show up and embody these qualities until the statistics about stress and work/life dissatisfaction become more balanced.

In order for our world to become healthier, and for people to enjoy what they’re doing more, we need people to feel alive, thriving and optimal.

For that to happen, we need to bring in more gentleness into our corporations.

Via Chief Executive : How CEOs Can Drive Culture Change And Workplace Diversity

A diverse workplace — one that recognizes and respects all unique individuals across the business — is widely accepted as crucial to a successful organization. In its “Why Diversity Matters” report, workplace research firm McKinsey documents the higher financial performance by diverse companies across industries.

Yet, despite recent efforts, diversity remains a much-discussed topic — and not because companies are great at it. Take Google’s data-driven diversity program. It cost $265 million to implement but still failed to significantly change the composition of its workforce.

The critical missing link for many organizations is often strong CEO involvement. By putting their stamp on diversity initiatives as part of a proactive, robust strategy, CEOs can help their business leaders drive change from the top down. Here are four ways to make that happen.

Re-examine the workplace environment

To really tap into the benefits of diversity and inclusion, CEOs can encourage their organizations to look beyond traditional diversity categories. A workplace that fails to adapt to the needs of different age groups, personalities, individual qualities and work styles will likely find efficiency and performance suffer.

For example, many workplace environments are built around eye contact, noisy group work and generally overstimulating settings, from the interview process to long-term decision making. But these traditional workplace environments and routines may not encourage top performance from all types of workers.

If your company features an open plan environment, make sure you offer access to private work spaces, too. Consider how lighting and noisy distractions could impact individuals with autism or hyper-sensitive personalities. Encourage a company culture that values subtle collaborative practices — and be sure you model this behavior across your C-suite, too.

Learn from strengths and weaknesses

By opening the doors to nonlinear thinking, business leaders can maximize employees’ individual strengths and solve difficult problems. If nurtured in the right way, these skills are extremely valuable to a business.

For example, global giant EY implemented a pilot in 2016 to hire individuals with Asperger’s syndrome to help analyze the effectiveness of account operations and determine specific client needs. With a talent for detail-orientated and process-driven work, these employees demonstrated they could deliver results in an innovative and efficient way.

While it’s fine to set individual and highly specialized tasks, it’s still important to keep a collaborative element to roles. Encourage employees to share their ideas and feedback on other workplace projects to ensure everyone feels part of a team and no one becomes too isolated.

Promote flexibility and cater to individuals

Pioneering computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper once said the most dangerous phrase in data processing is “We’ve always done it this way.

The same could be said for any business. Hiding behind bureaucracy to deter employees from making requests for greater flexibility can be a major obstacle to achieving greater inclusion and diversity. And employees say that flexibility is highly important: A study by PGi found 70 percent of employees were more productive, 80 percent had higher morale and 82 percent had lower stress when allowed to telecommute.

Lead the charge to promote flexible policies with work-from-home options and encourage employees to use that time when they need it. This proactively demonstrates your company’s goal of supporting the varied needs of individuals.

Apply that same flexibility to rewarding staff when they excel. Happy hours or golf outings may work well for some employees but will leave others flat. Working parents might not be able to arrange child care after work or on the weekends, for instance. Would your star performer prefer a few bonus days off? Early release days? A team breakfast or lunch?

Test alternative recruiting strategies

The cost of losing an employee can range from thousands of dollars to more than twice the employee’s annual salary. These costs include hiring, training, the loss of engagement from others due to high turnover and higher business error rates. That’s why it’s vital to invest in finding the right employees for your company.

However, the personalities of some individuals may run counter to common notions of what makes a good employee. Concentrating only on conventional benchmarks — such as solid communication skills, teamwork and the ability to network — may systematically screen out individuals with unique gifts.

Talk with your HR leaders to discuss ways you can adapt hiring policies to encourage diversity. In some cases, it might be more effective to conduct interviews virtually, since some candidates may interview better in familiar surroundings.

Or as Microsoft found, sometimes it’s better not to hold traditional interviews at all. Adapting the structure of its interview process was a key action the company took in its bid to attract colleagues with autism. Instead of a traditional interviewing process, candidates were invited on campus for two weeks to work on projects, while being casually monitored by managers looking for new team members.

Companies that emphasize a flexible, inclusive workplace culture will find it easier to attract and keep top talent — employees who feel supported to realize their full potential. That ultimately leads to business innovation, growth and profit — top of the wish list for CEOs the world over.

Via Forbes : 16 Essential Leadership Skills For The Workplace Of Tomorrow

Some people believe that leaders are born, not made. Others, however, think leadership skills can be developed and honed, just like any other ability.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council tend to agree with the latter theory, as many of them work closely with up-and-coming professionals to help them become better, more effective leaders. Thesecoaches are also finely attuned to workplace trends, and based on today’s changing environment, they know what skills tomorrow’s leaders will need to succeed.

Here are 16 leadership skills that will be imperative to the future of work.

1. Fearless Agility

The speed of the market and our workplaces, powered by the constant stream of new technology and the “on demand” expectations it has created, will continue to accelerate. Leaders who can quickly yet effectively think, decide and inspire will be critical to keep up with these fast-changing competitive demands. – Bonnie Davis, Destination Up

2. Earning Respect

As the workplace evolves to become more transparent, collaborative and mindful, leaders must be equally diligent to earn respect from their team. Leaders must hold themselves responsible and accountable for the effect their influence has on their employees and the organization as a whole. Leadership should be earned anew each day. – Sheri Nasim,Center for Executive Excellence

3. Empathy

The future of leadership will revolve around our capacities to build emotional intelligence within ourselves as leaders, and those whose lives we touch. Empathy and compassion aren’t just ideals of ancient spiritual teachings; they are cornerstones for bringing people together in mutual understanding around vital, complex and sometimes alienating socio-political and economic issues. – Dave Ursillo, DaveUrsillo.com

4. Selflessness

Leaders of the future will know how to tirelessly encourage the dreams of those around them while diffusing their fears. This requires leaders to have unshakable certainty in themselves and a willingness to be generous with those they lead. – Monique Alvarez, Monique Alvarez Enterprises

5. Flexibility

The days of cubicles and 9-to-5 routines are winding down. Teams are quickly transitioning to work from remote locations, on their own time, on platforms that change every single day. Flexibility may be an old-school idea, yet it’s a principle leaders will always need. Adapting to the changing technology and millennial-created cultures continue to keep leaders fresh and effective. – Hanna Hermanson, Dream Life is Real Life

6. Committing To A Clear Vision

Upholding a vision for the future is nothing new to leadership, as are other key traits like emotional intelligence and being willing to take necessary risks. But there is something to be said for being unwavering in the pursuit of a mission and vision. Leaders who can capitalize on ways to make that future vision a reality will take their companies and staff further, faster. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International

7. Listening

The pace of work, innovation and change continues to accelerate. Leaders need to be highly skilled listeners to stay ahead of the curve on what’s happening with their teams, their clients and their partners. That will require learning to listen on multiple levels, including being able to tune in better to the emotional soundtracks of those they lead, serve and work with. – Joe Casey, Princeton Executive Coaching

8. Humility

Humility is one of the behaviors I observe least often. Recognizing that, simply put, it is not all about you, is how leaders can enable their teams and their organizations to prepare for the future. Leaders should not view themselves as the most important person. Be modest about your value. Encourage others to shine rather than looking for the light yourself. – Leila Bulling Towne, The Bulling Towne Group, LLC

9. Communication And ‘Soft Skills’

“Soft skills” like communication, listening and public speaking have become crucial in the day-to-day leadership environment. Without effective communication, leaders are just figureheads. By focusing on the interpersonal interactions, leaders can reach individuals where they are and connect. – Jennifer Oleniczak Brown, The Engaging Educator

10. Steadiness While Remaining Adaptable

Technological advancements are happening at a rapid pace, which affects the way leaders do business often. Inflexible leadership causes companies to lag behind competitors, which could ultimately lead to losing market share – or worse, becoming obsolete. Staying on the cutting edge of any industry requires flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly to the changes in the marketplace. – Tamiko Cuellar, Pursue Your Purpose LLC

11. Learning Quickly

The well-known skills of top leaders in the past, such as effective communication and personal branding, will always be around. But the often-overlooked trait of a top leader that has never been more important is the ability to learn quickly, over and above just the ability to recall and reformulate current knowledge. Coachability and adaptability are critical in an age of tech overwhelm. – Yuri Kruman, Master The Talk Consulting

12. Cultural Intelligence

Experience and business acumen will only take a leader so far. High-touch experiences with stakeholders and employees and the ability to deftly maneuver in social settings have become the rule, rather than the exception. Because we are becoming more globally entrenched as a society, understanding, appreciating and leveraging differences each become critical to effective leadership. – Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq., WordSmithRapport

13. Understanding The Individual

With multiple generations in the workforce at the same time, the need for individual attention is crucial. Gone are the days when leaders could enforce blanket policies and expect results. Acknowledging the differences in each team member goes a long way when leaders are trying to communicate, motivate and inspire. – Dominique Anders, Dominant Media / Dominique Anders Coaching

14. Authenticity

Authenticity encompasses trustworthiness, openness, empathy and being real. We are wary of leaders who are fake, narcissistic, secretive or self-serving. Teams are getting bolder at calling out destructive character traits that impact their livelihood and the corporate world. The best leaders today are authentic; it’s how we connect and build trust in our teams and companies. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC

15. Leading Through Change

Leaders of the future have to get better at leading teams through change. The talk of the importance of change is pervasive in business conversations today, but few leaders actually understand and are good at executing change. The most powerful change skill is leveraging your people’s natural inclination to be creative through transitions. Harness that energy, and leaders will be unstoppable. – Dr. Rachel MK Headley, Rose Group, Intl

16. Versatility

Versatility across multiple areas of business is proving to be a coveted leadership trait. Gone are the days of singular expertise; businesses covet skill diversity and agility. The greater the exposure to various job functions, the easier it can be for leaders to navigate the ever-evolving world of business, adapt to changing business demands, and provide beneficial solutions. – Adrienne Tom, Career Impressions