We Should Lead Like ScroogeAfter Ebenezer Scrooge has his life-changing Christmas Eve experience, he enthusiastically sets out on a new pathway to personal growth on Christmas Day. When he gets back to work what would you suggest he do to increase Bob Cratchit’s workplace engagement? In his entertaining and insightful Forbes column, “Lead Like Scrooge: The Surprising Research Results“, Joe Folkman asks:

1. Should he continue to be more considerate (we assume that he has moved from poor performance to average) while now working hard on being less driven and demanding?


2. Should he continue at a high level of drive for results and work even harder at being even more considerate (to move from average to the top quartile)?

Most people pick option #1. But Zenger Folkman’s research shows that will barely change Bob’s engagement level. “Nice” leaders who create warm and fuzzy workplaces and feel-good teams that don’t deliver results create mediocre engagement levels.

We all want to feel a sense of accomplishment. We love to win. Leaders with high standards who stretch us to higher achievement engage and bring out extra effort — often getting more from us or our team than we thought was possible.

Of course, how a leader drives for higher results is critical. If his or her approach is cold, heartless, and dehumanizing — like the pre-enlightened Scrooge — engagement levels will be low. Zenger Folkman’s database with assessments of over 45,000 leaders shows that when a leader is strong (rated in the 75th percentile) at both Drives for Results and Build Relationships over 70% of the time he or she is among the top 10% of leaders. This is a very powerful combination.

Read Joe’s column, “Lead Like Scrooge: The Surprising Research Results” and listen to Joe’s podcast with Jack Zenger on “Leadership Lessons from Scrooge” for a deeper look at the 83 Scrooges ZF discovered lurking in their database. You might want to drive for results like Scrooge and build relationships like Santa!