Emenex Weekly News

Each week we bring you news, opinions and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Motivation, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Why Do We Spend So Much Developing Senior Leaders and So Little Training New Managers?

This article caught our attention as it reinforces our feelings around the investments that organistions make that are inconsistent with the ability to align the whole organisation around its priorities. Our experience confirms that it is often the middle managers – the key links between the leadership team and the ‘troops’ – that are most often left to their own devices in cascading and then managing the work of the organisation in aligning these priorities. We agree, that re-balancing the investment across the leadership and management teams would yield much more effective results. Read on.

Writing for Harvard Business Review, the author reckons that students of management agree that the transition from employee to manager is one of the most challenging in business. It brings new roles and responsibilities, new ways of looking at organisations, and new ways of relating to peers and multiple constituencies. So why is the investment into this key group often disproportionate to their responsibilities?

He cites two key reasons:

1. The people who control these budgets come from senior leadership ranks. Whether they’re heads of HR or reside elsewhere in the C-suite, these training decision makers naturally tend to be focused on issues that are of immediate interest to them now, not issues that were of interest a decade or three earlier in their careers. And yet, at the latter stages of their careers, most senior managers are pretty set in their ways.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, the new managers (who of course are the organisation’s future leaders) are a blank slate, just finding their own leadership styles. They’re sponges soaking up data, minds full of problems that need be solved, and they’re eager for thoughtful guidance to help resolve them.

2. Leadership development is more appealing. It’s more visionary. More strategic. Less prosaic. Leadership development is often viewed as the cool big brother to management training’s dull stepbrother. Even the authors’ two favourite quotes on the subject betray a subtle bias. “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter Drucker; and “Managers think about today. Leaders think about tomorrow.” — Anonymous.

Who wants to be mired in tedious operational details when you could be thinking higher-level thoughts about competitive global strategy? Leadership is where the money, influence, and intellectual horsepower reside.

We believe, like the author, that it really does not make good business sense to give less training to those who need it more, while giving more to those who need it less?

Go here to read the article in full.

Blog: The Single Biggest Problem in Communication is The Illusion That it Has Taken Place.”

So said George Bernard Shaw, and they are profound and well-observed words. If you follow our weekly news updates every Thursday you’ll know of our desire to make communication anything but an illusion – theoretically George_Bernard_Shaw_1925simple, but in practice often more tricky to achieve.

You will also know that emenex has formed a strategic partnership with IBM Kenexa, bringing together IBM’s deep expertise in employee survey design and analytics with our experience and capability in helping clients ‘read’ survey data and take appropriate strategic action as a result.

IBM Kenexa’s latest and most powerful survey platform yet, Employee Voice, hones in on three key activities which, when implemented effectively, enable businesses to bring about real transformation: Listen. Analyse. Act.

So what makes the combination of these three small words so powerful?  Read more.

It’s time to move beyond engagement.  Empower and align employees with organisational priorities to build a culture of high performance, well being and career satisfaction.  To learn more, call 03450 523 593

EDS Emenex

A Long Road Ahead for British Business – an Engage for Success Viewpoint

Engage for Success reminds us that the British public has voted to change its relationship with its EU partners.

The inescapable truth, however, is that the UK lags behind our European competitors in both productivity and engagement. In this new era of uncertainty we need to acknowledge this and take real action to make improvements.

Employees will be looking to managers to provide clarity and direction in the face of unprecedented change. In many industries our employees will be feeling nervous and unsettled about their future, both in terms of their companies and their personal prospects.

The remedy for British businesses, whether large or small, is well researched and has little to do with the outcome of this referendum. Once again, relationships with managers come in to play – [rather a theme of this issue – Ed] – but read their full recommendations here.

47% Cite Budget as Barrier to Improving Employee Engagement

Louise Fordham reports on recent research by Employee Benefits and Xerox HR Services, showing that 47% of 338 respondents cite budget as a barrier to improving employee engagement. A lack of support from senior management is also viewed by 31% as a key barrier to facilitating improvements. Get the details here.

[Our response: The report reveals other statistics too, and as a specialist in the field of helping organisations achieve business transformation through employee engagement, I find the research findings both illuminating and rather depressing; despite all that’s been done in the past 10 years or so to raise awareness about the importance of employee engagement, and to prove the link between engagement and metrics such as productivity, it’s clear from these findings that many businesses still haven’t got it: you can’t “do” employee engagement to people. Yes, there are benefits and activities that can make a difference, but the key is all about making relationships and communication work across all levels of the organisation, from the very top to the very bottom. This isn’t an over-simplification; the relationship between every employee and their line manager is one of the key determinants of how engaged each employee will choose to be.  And getting that relationship right isn’t restricted by lack of budget!]

Stages of Leadership and Business Transformation

“Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results” by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams (Wiley, 2016)”
Writing for Training, the authors of this new book set out their research about the development stages necessary for high performance leadership. Furthermore, they claim that without development that leads to personal, transformative change, any organisational improvement will prove to be temporary.

Take Charge of your career, team or organisation by aligning individual goals with organisational priorities. To learn more, call 03450 523 593

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