Leadership style and employee engagement go hand-in-hand. Everybody knows that a poor leader can make a dissatisfied and unproductive employee. Good leaders, on the other hand, produce productive, committed employees.
How critical is employee engagement?
An analysis of 160,576 employees who worked under 30661 leaders from different organizations around the globe showed that employees were less committed to their work than those under good leaders. However, they were more committed to their jobs under great leaders.
These ratings were provided by colleagues and bosses—360 assessment of leadership capabilities. Poor leaders made workers unhappy, while those who had good leaders were more committed than their colleagues.
Jack Zenger, Joseph Folkman, world leaders in leadership development consulting, say there are two styles that a leader can use to engage employees. The leaders are known as the drivers, while the enhancer is the leader.
The Driver Style of Leadership and Employee Engagement
The Driver sets high standards of excellence for employees. They encourage employees to reach for higher goals and push them to achieve new heights. They help employees stay focused on their highest priorities and goals and assist them in achieving these goals and objectives.
The Enhancer Style for Leadership & Employee Engagement
Enhancer leaders help solve employees’ problems and serve as role models. They provide honest and constructive feedback, build trust and develop people.
Which Leadership Style Leads to Higher Employee Engagement?
Which approach to employee engagement is the best? An informal survey revealed that the Enhancer leader type received the highest approval. A majority of leaders also believe that employees will be more committed if their leader is excellent.
However, the numbers tell a different story. The employees were asked to rate their engagement on a scale from 1-5 and if they felt their leaders were enhancers/drivers. Leaders who scored at least 75 percentile were considered to be adequate drivers or enhancers.
This data showed that 8.9% of employees who rated their leaders as effective drivers and not enhancers ranked themselves among the top 10% for employee engagement.
A single style of leadership is not enough. Try a combination
This analysis shows that leadership is more than being a driver or an enabler. For employee engagement to be successful, both leadership approaches are required.
68% of employees who worked under leaders that were both enhancers or drivers scored among the top 10% for satisfaction and engagement.
It is evident that there is no one right way to do things. Leaders should embrace both approaches in order to engage employees. They must also be trustworthy, considerate, and collaborative with their employees.
A leader who is a driver should try and be nice, while a leader who’s a nice guy should be more firm and have higher expectations for his staff.
These two leadership styles should be combined like the oars on a boat. They should be used with equal force to ensure maximum employee engagement.