Emotionally Healthy Leadership

Emotionally Healthy Leadership

Leaders face a variety of pressures and expectations in today’s corporate environment. Their responses to these pressures vary, as do the personalities behind them. Ineffective or (worse) toxic cultures are a result of leaders who respond to trials in detrimental ways. Consistently effective management requires a high inner stability, making emotional health one of the most critical attributes a leader can have to keep an organization running well. Studies and statistics tell us the woes of employees dealing with leaders who make life difficult. The rates of disengagement and turnover attest, in part, to how leaders can make work an undesirable experience. Leaders who cause cultures to have low morale, disunity or distrust are likely to have deficient emotional health. Often this condition stresses the emotional health of everyone. If you were to take a step back, would you be able to sense any emotionally difficult aspects of your leadership role? Would you say they inhibit your performance, or the performance of those reporting to you? If so, you may need to address your emotional health. Being Self-Aware Anyone can allow emotions to override discernment or rational thinking. When this happens to a leader, decision making and solution generation are compromised. Emotions can get the best of a leader, and unfortunate things happen. Those who can find the proper balance of thought and feeling have the greatest advantage for managing well. Emotional balance requires knowing your tendencies. Leaders must be cognizant of their emotional inclinations in order to address any shortcomings and correct them. This is one of the most challenging areas of leadership. In addition to technical skills...
Employee Engagement: Your Secret Weapon

Employee Engagement: Your Secret Weapon

Surveys and studies indicate global job dissatisfaction is at a two-decade high. Disengaged employees account for nearly 70 percent of the workforce, which significantly affects the bottom line, according to data from Towers Watson. They cause corporate income, earnings and profits to suffer to the tune of $500 billion each year. Comparative surveys also indicate that leaders believe engagement is higher than it actually is. Appearances never tell the full story, contributing to this disconnect in perspective. Busy people are not necessarily engaged but may be overworked. Leaders struggling in a dysfunctional culture may not discern low performance levels. When leaders focus more on managing tasks than on people, the disconnect widens. Staff attitudes and performance trend downward. Disengaged leaders beget indifferent employees. When an organization’s culture fosters disengagement, it’s ultimately up to leaders to take corrective action. The Basic Engagement Mindset Leaders must focus on people, understand what they need, and motivate them to enhance engagement and productivity, notes leadership consultant Clint Swindall in Engaged Leadership: Building a Culture to Overcome Employee Disengagement (Wiley, 2011). Many leaders fail to understand disengagement’s impact. They may not associate staff disengagement with overall inefficiencies, low productivity or reduced profits. Studies show these factors have a greater influence on corporate performance than the economy, market trends or competitive forces. In other words, an organization’s strengths and weaknesses hinge more on internal than external issues, most importantly the staff’s emotional health. Dissatisfied workers simply don’t care as much as their satisfied colleagues. Their performance, efforts and concerns about company or customer well-being are marginal. When too many employees fall into the “disengaged” category,...