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Growing engaging leaders
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Growing engaging leaders



Learn all about the Workplace Gardening Philosophy of leadership from Karen Schmidt, Engaging Leadership

Learn all about the Workplace Gardening Philosophy of leadership from Karen Schmidt, Engaging Leadership



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    Growing engaging leaders Growing engaging leaders Document Transcript

    • Growingengagingleaders10 keys to growing the next crop of engaging leadersBy Karen SchmidtWorkplace GardenerSpeaker . . . Workshop Leader . . . Facilitator
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 1Why you need engaging leadersExtensive research on employee engagement in the last decade hasrevealed that the key to unlocking the discretionary effort that lieswithin your employees is simple: give them the right leader andengagement will occur naturally.It has also been proven that those organisations that learn how togrow engaging leaders will reap the rewards in terms of: Cost benefits • Less staff turnover and lower recruitment costs • Fewer accidents and injuries • Avoid bullying and harassment claims • Reduce sick leave Innovation • Easier to attract good people • Improved teamwork • Healthier workplace culture • More focus on generating new ideas Better results • Less time spent fixing people issues • Improved customer service • Enhanced image in the market • Increased bottom line resultsIt’s one thing to know why you should do something and another toknow how to do it! That’s what this e-book is all about. It providesyou with 10 keys to growing your managers into engaging leaders. Ibelieve that if you apply these concepts the result will be aleadership team that flourishes and an organisation that isguaranteed to grow!Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 210 keys to growing managers intoengaging leaders1. You can’t have engaged leaders in a poor culture2. We pick people for leadership roles for the wrong reasons3. New leaders need assistance and support4. A leader in the wrong position can do damage5. Bad habits from senior leaders rub off on budding leaders6. Senior leaders provide budding leaders with shelter from the organisational elements7. You need to remove the barriers to help leaders grow8. Sometimes leaders outgrow their role and need to move on9. If leaders aren’t growing they are dying10. You always need to be cultivating new leadersLet’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 31. You can’t have engaged leaders in a poor culture . . . and you can’t grow plants in bad soilBefore a gardener even thinks about planting anything they preparethe soil. They know that if you put a strong plant in bad soil it willstruggle to grow, never reaching its full potential and require lots ofnurturing along the way.In organisational terms, soil represents culture. Every organisationhas a culture which is made up of their policies, procedures andpractices. A culture can be overt or covert, official or unofficial,helpful or a hindrance.What type of culture do you have . . . one that helps people to growor does it stunt their development? How would you define yourculture to an outsider using the four measures of:Focus . . . what is important around hereFlexibility . . . how much do we have, who has itFeedback . . . who gives, who gets it, what and whenFun . . . do we have any, what does it look likeYou need to develop a culture of engagement that supports theefforts of your leaders rather than one that works against them oreven the most engaging leader in the world may not be able tosurvive and will definitely not thrive and grow.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 42. We pick people for leadership roles for the wrong reasons . . . wrong plant in wrong location simply because we like itIf you have every tried to grow your favourite plant but didn’t havethe right location for it you will know how frustrating it is to watch itwither and die. Just because you like the look of a plant and have ablank space to fill doesn’t mean you should go ahead and plant one.So why don’t we use the same logic with leaders?We often throw people into a leadership role because we have agap to fill, not because they are right for the job. We also choosepeople for leadership roles based on the wrong criteria. Standardpractice is to select the technically most competent person and putthem in charge, whether they like it or not. There are a few problemswith this method . . . • Technical competence does not necessarily equal leadership competence • Making someone perform a leadership role against their will, regardless of their level of skill, is unlikely to result in success • You have lost the skills of your best technician who is now focused on leading others instead of “doing the work”The process of choosing a leaderneeds to be deliberate and wellthought out because you can’t affordto keep killing them off likehouseplants! Engaging leaders arenot easy to replace. Think of them asrare plants that are hard to find andexpensive to acquire.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 53. New leaders need assistance and support . . . plants need help to get established tooWhether you are planting a large, established tree or a tiny sapling,new plants often need some extra support to get off to a good start.Gardeners do this by staking the plant, protecting it with a windbreak or covering it up to keep off frost or sun.Someone new to a leadership role needs the same kind of supportin the beginning. Gone are the days when we simply handed a newleader the keys to their office, a pile of work to be done and wishedthem luck.Regardless of whether they have been a leader before, in yourorganisation or elsewhere, starting a new role is like beingreplanted. It can be a shock to the system but you can reduce theimpact with the right support.For budding leaders, that support can take many forms: • A comprehensive induction program designed specifically for people in leadership roles • Providing them with a thorough history of the organisation, its leaders and their team members • Access to senior leaders within the organisation so they know what is going on and can more quickly feel part of the leadership team • A leadership buddy they can turn to for advice and assistance in the early days on the job • Immediate and ongoing professional development workshops, conferences and coachingLet’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 64. A leader in the wrong position can do damage . . . the wrong plant can potentially become a weedWhilst vines that attach themselves to other plants to survive arecommon in nature, the result is usually the same . . . eventually thehost plant is strangled by the vine. This can lead to death or at leastgreatly reduced growth. The same is true of an introduced speciesthat takes over a habitat, robbing other plants of light and nutrients.No matter how attractive, it is the wrong plant in the wrong place. The wrong leader in the wrong position can have the same impact. One of the goals of a leader should be to help their people to grow and develop, not to hold them back. Unfortunately, not enough leaders have the courage to let their people realise their full potential. Others have a habit of getting involved in issues that aren’t really their concern which can cause stress to all involved."The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they eventually surpass him or her in knowledge and ability" Fred ManskeLeaders also need to be put in a position where they can do themost good. We know that some leaders are great at starting a teamfrom scratch, others thrive when asked to get a team back on trackand another group get enjoyment from keeping a well performingteam in motion. You need to work to the leader’s strengths ratherthan ask them to perform a role they are not naturally designed for.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 75. Bad habits from senior leaders rub off on budding leaders . . . like pests and disease move from plant to plantFinding a plant infested with pests or disease is a warning sign to agardener. They know that if they don’t remove them quickly anddestroy them properly, the problem will move elsewhere in thegarden and quickly get out of control. Once pests take hold they canbe very difficult to get rid of, requiring the use of expensive andpotentially toxic chemicals or even the removal of whole plants.When senior leaders have badhabits they can quickly transferdown the leadership levels tobudding leaders. The spread canbe difficult to control and it cantake years to get rid of thesehabits if they become part of thecultural norms.Some of the most invasive workplace diseases can develop fromleaders who aren’t engaged. They become territorial, sabotagechange initiatives or start to play organisational politics instead ofdoing their real job. Fixing the resulting damage can take largeinvestments of time, money and effort. Along the way there can bemany casualties as good people leave, allowing the disease to reallytake hold.You need to stop these bad habits from developing in the first place.Senior leaders in your organisation need to be role models. Itdoesn’t mean they need to be perfect, it just means they need toadmit to their bad habits, fix them and replace them with betterhabits.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 86. Senior leaders provide budding leaders with shelter from organisational elements . . . like a tree shading smaller plantsA well designed garden includes plants that fulfill a number ofdifferent roles. One of the most important roles is performed by largetrees that provide shelter and protection, allowing smaller plants togrow underneath them. However, if the trees provide too muchshelter some of the undergrowth may not be able to get the nutrientsit needs to develop so there needs to be a balance.Senior leaders are the trees in organisations, shading buddingleaders from the ravages of the business. That’s why they are paidmore! Unfortunately, not all senior leaders see their role in that way.Instead, many of them leave their direct reports exposed to theelements by: Expecting them to make decisions they should be making Using them as scapegoats when they make mistakes Passing off their ideas or work as their own Failing to support them when they really need helpAlternatively, some senior leaders go toofar and provide too much shelter,inhibiting budding leaders from growing.This could be done in a well-meaningway, to protect them from difficult peopleor difficult situations, or it could be todeliberately keep them in the dark.Either way, the result is the same. The senior leader creates asituation where budding leaders can’t reach their potential and theorganisation can suffer from a diminished leadership talent pool.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 97. You need to remove the barriers to help leaders grow . . . plants grow better when you give them spacePlants can’t grow when they don’t have enough space. When theyare crowded out by others all competing for limited nutrients or light,only the strongest survive. We see this in a rainforest canopy as wellas a suburban garden. The best gardeners know they need to giveeach plant its space and to also remove other barriers, such asrocks, that prevent the roots from really taking hold. “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity” Max de PreeThere is nothing worse than watching a promising leader fail todevelop because they have too many barriers put in their way. In anorganisational sense, the barriers that prevent your leaders fromreaching their potential can include: • Unclear goals and objectives • Vague or constantly changing position descriptions • Policies, procedures or practices that slow them down • More senior leaders who “micro-manage” • A lack of resources to effectively perform their role • Inheriting a team of under performers and non performers • The legacy of past leadership decisions that prevent growthLet’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 108. Sometimes leaders outgrow their role and need to move on . . . sometimes plants need to be relocated to thrive Gardeners sometimes make mistakes and plant the wrong tree in the wrong place. The result can be that its roots eventually push up the pathway or invade the drainage system. The same can happen with potted plants that outgrow their container. If they aren’t taken care of they become root bound and slowly die.When choosing leaders we can sometimes get it wrong, too, andfind that we don’t have the right environment for a particularlyambitious, high achiever. They eventually find themselves feelingconstrained and unable to operate within the confines of theorganisation. We have to be willing to let them go or risk watchingthem disengage.Smart organisations have in place plans for dealing with thesesituations on a temporary or permanent basis, including: • a secondment elsewhere in the corporation, perhaps even overseas • an arrangement with a compatible enterprise to swap leaders so they can broaden their experience • a “boomerang” policy that allows people to leave, gain more experience and return in the future when the circumstances are rightAnother scenario involves the leader who is ready to move onto thenext level in the organisation but has their promotion blocked. Itcould be for political reasons, because they are too hard to replacein their current role or because they are perceived as being tooyoung for a more senior role. In all cases, leaving them where theyare will almost certainly decrease their engagement, so think twicebefore letting this happen.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 119. If leaders aren’t growing, they are dying . . . the law of nature, especially when it comes to plantsEven people who have been gardening for decades are alwayslooking for new and better ways to do things. They know that newplant species that are more productive and resistant to disease arebeing developed all the time. They also realise that you need toconstantly keep working to maintain your garden. Whether it iswatering, fertilising or mulching . . . the garden needs attention.Leaders also need to be looking for new and better ways of doingthings. They need to pay attention to the trends, keep up with theresearch and stay one step ahead in terms of engagementstrategies.A growing leader is someone who: • Attends regular professional and personal development events • Has a strong network of leadership contacts • Gets involved in the relevant professional associations • Keeps up with what is being written about leadership • Takes on new challenges to grow their skills • Assists budding leaders to bloomIf you aren’t doing these things, you will beleft behind and risk joining the ranks of thedying breed of managers who think they areleaders, but aren’t really. Unfortunately, oncea leader starts to shrivel up through lack ofgrowth, it can be very hard to stop theprocess. The key is to always be growing.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 1210. You always need to be cultivating new leaders . . . you need plants in all stages of development to keep your garden healthyExperienced gardeners are realists. They know that a garden is aliving thing and therefore constantly changing. Whilst the gardenmay look great today, they know it won’t stay that way on its own.They are always looking to the future . . . taking cuttings, raisingseedlings and looking for signs that new plant life is on the way.Experienced leaders know they need to be always looking out forpotential leaders of the future. They could be young people juststarting out in their career or more experienced people who areready and eager to move into leadership.They prepare these budding new leaders by giving them informalopportunities to develop their leadership skills and by providing themwith advice to help them on the path ahead. They know that newleaders bring fresh ideas to the organisation. So, instead of beingfearful of them they welcome the chance to learn from their insights.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 13About the author Karen Schmidt from Let’s Grow! describes herself as a workplace gardener who is on a mission to grow the next crop of engaging leaders. The seeds for her role as a speaker, workshop leader and facilitator were planted early in her career when she encountered disengaging managers and colleagues who were performing below their capabilities. In order to help people to not just survive but thrive at work, she made it her goal to grow herself into an employee engagement expert. Along the way she experienced the workplace from the point of view of a staff member, manager, recruiter, contractor and consultant working in organizations of all shapes and sizes.To add to her 20 plus years of practical experience she has formal qualificationsin Human Resource Management and Adult Education and is the author of“Keep ‘em keen: a guide for managers on engaging people of all ages andcareer stages”.Today she works with current and future leaders across Australia, New Zealandand Asia in a diverse range of industries to help them create more engagingworkplaces. Her clients include corporates, government departments,professional associations, educational institutions and community groups.Karen continues to grow her knowledge base and practical experience throughher membership of organisations such as the National Speakers Association ofAustralia, Australian Institute of Management and the Institute of LearningProfessionals.She has been recognised by the International Federation for ProfessionalSpeakers as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the highest level ofaccreditation for speaker’s internationally and held by only 10% of members.Karen was the winner of the National Speakers Association of Australia (NSAA)QLD "Speaker of the year" award in 2006.In her spare time she likes to volunteer at her local community garden and growher skills as a social ballroom dancer.Let’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au
    • Growing engaging leaders Page 14Keep ‘em keenA guide for managers on engaging people of all ages andcareer stagesIt used to be that the biggest staffing problem managers hadto deal with was high turnover. Today, the real issue isengagement . . . finding ways to get staff to do more than justturn up to work physically. It’s about finding ways to engagethem mentally and emotionally.For some organisations lack of engagement is an ongoingissue, for others it is more circumstantial. Whatever the causethe result is the same: lack of engagement is a real issue withreal costs attached.Find out what it takes to keep your people keen at work by learning about: • How to tell if your people are Green, Keen, Mean or Has Beens • Why “engageability” is a critical factor when hiring new people • What it really costs to have less than engaged people • Tips for dealing with the “deadwood” in your organisation • 3 keys to creating a highly productive workforce • The secrets to engaging people of all generations • Effective ways to engage people no matter what their career stage • The simple strategies that separate engaging managers from the rest • Plus all the latest engagement terminology so you can sound like an expertNow available in 2 formats:Printed softcover book A$27.50Ebook A$16.50To order your copy visit www.letsgrow.com.auLet’s Grow! © 2010 www.letsgrow.com.au