Indian companies have changed dramatically their management style and people practices to suit the demands of a global environment. In such a scenario, there is no doubt that leadership must also change its style.
The challenge of leadership is not just to lead effectively, but also to keep pace with the changing employee expectations. Changing market demands have resulted in a very different corporate environments, which has influenced employee lifestyles dramatically and has changed their expectations from the organization and their leader. What worked before will no longer work, as people are no longer satisfied with safety and security as the primary requirements of their work life.
As a definition of what type of leadership will work, R Suresh, CEO, Stanton Chase International, India office1 says, “If you now want to fast forward into future, the leadership solution seems obvious. Prop-up, motivate and aggressively encourage the type ‘A’s gradually but firmly replace the type ‘B’s”. Type A leaders are aggressive, innovative and flexible and are charged up to keep changing to keep pace with the times. Type B leaders, on the other hand, are laid back and wait for the change to happen, and though qualified, have lost the rigour of proactive action.
In the following article, we shall see what the changing paradigms for leadership effectiveness are and what must leaders focus on in order to be successful.
What has emerged through the 90’s and is evolving, is the concept of employee engagement. The global research organization Gallup, maintains that engaged employees are more productive. They are more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave.
Engaged employees care about the future of the company and identify themselves with its mission and vision. They work with passion and feel highly connected with the company. Engaged employees also create positive impacts as they hold positive ideas about the products, services, processes and people in their organization.2
Research shows that employees become committed when they know the purpose of the organization, they have adequate materials and equipment, and they feel cared and appreciated and experience transparency and empowerment in their work.3
Reward vs Appreciate
The concept of reward for performance had leaders scurrying to analyze what types of rewards would work best – monetary or non-monetary. Motivation studies also linked types of people and rewards. However, the challenge for today’s leaders is to find opportunities to appreciate people for their performance and contribution. This becomes especially crucial when more and more people have started working in the virtual world, with very little contact with other groups of similar people. Leaders must focus on a very different type of motivation of the individual and reward mechanisms do very little when there exists very less opportunity to publicly share the receipt of the reward.
Recognize vs Showcase
In addition to appreciating individuals, leaders must also learn to showcase team success. Though individuals with high potential can take organization to great heights, only 30% of an organization can be leaders. The remaining 70% must be followers and high performing teams. Sharing team successes encourages a healthy competition and provides for pride in team’s performance.
For example, Aditya Birla has created a platform called the Aditya Birla Awards where team achievements across the organization are recognized every year. “It (showcasing success) inspires, it motivates, it has a ripple impact that cannot be accounted for numerically but has hugely positive and qualitative returns. Importantly, it has been our belief that whilst the individual stars, the sterling performers, are important, it is the creating of star teams across the organization that is most critical. Individual stars, who cannot become a part of star teams, are of little value. In fact, they can be disruptive instead of being productive”, quotes Business Today from Mr Kumaramangalam Birla’s words.3