So many leadership topics to write about and so little time! I continue to stockpile research on personal, team, and organization leadership. Today’s blog draws from two research pieces I’ve been hanging on to for a while, waiting for a chance to share them with you.

Nine Leadership Behaviors to Build Commitment - Jim Clemmer's Practical LeaderThe first is about how “CEOs Misunderstand Employee Engagement.” This piece in Management-Issues tells of a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit that “more than eight out of 10 top executives in companies across Europe and the Middle East view disengagement as one of the three biggest threats to their business.” I am sure that’s similar in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Yet, “barely more than one in 10 say that their companies regularly take action to tackle staff with continually low engagement.” Amazing, but certainly consistent with our experience!

The article also cites “research by consultants Hay Group… that up to 30 per cent of variance in business results can be explained simply by differences in the work climate created by line managers.”

That leads to the second piece of research from ZengerFolkman on Employee Commitment. The company surveyed 100,000 people, examining 49 behaviors that evaluated 16 leadership competencies and then “isolated the top leadership behaviors that created a satisfied employee who is highly committed.”

Writing in Executive Excellence, Joseph Folkman reports on “improving nine leadership behaviors has the greatest impact on employee satisfaction and commitment:

  1. Inspire and motivate others. Leaders who effectively inspire and motivate others have high energy and enthusiasm. They energize their team to achieve goals and increase performance.
  2. Driving for results. The drive for results is vital; however, some leaders are all push (drive for results) and no pull (inspiration), which reduces motivation. A healthy balance is necessary.
  3. Strategic perspective. Leaders who provide their team with a definite sense of direction and purpose have more satisfied and committed employees. These leaders paint a clear perspective between the overall picture and the details of day-to-day activities.
  4. Collaboration. When leaders show that they can achieve objectives that require a high level of cooperation, they create synergy, and everyone enjoys the work more.
  5. Walk the talk. Being honest and acting with integrity creates a more satisfied and committed workforce. Leaders need to be role models and set a good example.
  6. Trust. Leaders engender trust by becoming aware of employee concerns, aspirations, and circumstances; projecting deep expertise, knowledge, and confidence in making informed decisions; being consistent and predictable; and exhibiting honesty and integrity.
  7. Develops and supports others. When leaders help employees to develop new skills and abilities, employees have higher satisfaction and commitment, and become higher performers and more promotable. Effective leaders are thrilled by the success of others.
  8. Building relationships. Leaders who stay in touch with employee concerns engender higher employee satisfaction and commitment. Such leaders balance getting results with a concern for others needs.
  9. Courage. The leaders with the highest employee satisfaction and commitment are courageous. They don’t shy away from conflicts. They deal with issues head-on; when they see the first signs of problems within their teams, they address it directly and candidly.”

This is an excellent checklist for our personal leadership development or to assess or review the skills of anyone on your team or in your organization that you’re trying to develop to increase employee engagement.