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To lead, you must also follow; Know your model; Curbing burnout to boost wellness; To improve global prosperity, hire better managers

To lead, you must also follow – the topic of leadership is a favourite of mine and it is certainly keenly discussed whenever I meet with clients – the challenges of motivating others to succeed as well as how to present and be perceived as a leader. Herein lies a further challenge, as by trying to demonstrate your exceptional abilities as a leader, you may compromise your ability to lead. The simple reason is that, as renowned US leadership expert, Warren Bennis observed, leaders are only ever as effective as their ability to engage followers.

When leaders and followers are bound together by the understanding that they are members of the same social group, a leaders’ behaviour indicates that they are one of us, because they share values, concerns and experiences, and are doing it for us, by looking to advance the interests of the group rather than own personal interests.

These ideas were tested in a study of 218 Royal Marines recruits over a physically arduous 32-week infantry training period. The results were surprising – it was the followers who emerged as leaders.

What is your leadership style and how can you adapt to work collaboratively with others?

Find out more here.

Know your model? – NYSE-listed meal kit delivery business, Blue Apron has run into some hefty headwinds since its IPO in 2017. Their historic driver of sales had been a substantial marketing spend ($144 million in 2016), but post-listing they gave that expense a significant haircut. Customer numbers dropped away, and the company started to re-build the marketing investment. Despite spending $34.6 million, or 19.3% of revenue, for the most recent quarter, customer numbers still fell 24%.

Turns out they are facing stiff competition from direct competitors and also from supermarkets, whose customers pick up meal kits whilst shopping. Also, the customer base seems transactional rather than loyal with retention a low 15%.

In your world, do your team know how the key parts of your model work to drive growth and performance? What are the metrics you track to tell you when things are no longer working?

Read the article here.

Curbing burnout to boost wellness – One of the most critical, yet often ignored issues for leaders is addressing burnout. If wellness has been playing on your mind, you might like to follow Stanford University’s efforts to combat burnout.

Stanford has been focusing intently on physician burnout since 2013. Internal survey data from 2013 to 2016 showed burnout was a potentially devastating financial liability – for every physician Stanford loses, the replacement cost ranges from $250,000 to $1 million.

The University has begun a three-pronged approach to curbing burnout for physicians and other employees – to promote efficiency, support resilience and create a culture of wellness. There is a strong desire to improve culture and give people the tools they need to succeed.

  • Create a culture of wellness: “We get the best out of people when they feel motivated and cared for. Leader support is absolutely key.” Supervisors and workers are encouraged to develop positive relationships that foster meaningful conversations.
  • Efficiency of practice: “If we can tie every employee’s worth, value, and mission back to the organisation, we are all more likely to be happy in the job we were hired for and hopefully do our jobs with more enthusiasm.” The University has a new focus on workplace processes and practices that promote safety, quality, effectiveness, and positive patient and collegiate interactions.
  • Personal resilience: “A traditional wellness program—how we eat, move, and think – is important to us.”Stanford has built up its personal resilience infrastructure beyond fitness facilities, with 1,000 fitness classes and healthy living programs offered annually.

What could you do – for yourself or your team – to boost wellness and improve productivity?

Read the full article here.

To improve global prosperity, hire better managers – In my quarterly Workshops I regularly speak with Founder/Owners and CEOs in doubt about the quality of their team leaders and the impact this is having organisation-wide, especially for productivity.

To get to the heart of the problem in a tangible way, the conclusion from this study was to change the way we work by transforming management in the following ways:

  • Hire individuals with a natural talent for managing people: when companies systematically pick candidates with high management talent, they can achieve 27% higher revenue per employee than average.
  • Train managers into coaches: many managers today are not ready to have frequent developmental conversations with their teams, but regular listening and feedback are essential skills for talking about performance and growth.
  • Drive manager engagement to drive employee engagement: employees who work for highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged, According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work.

When you consider that globally, the economic consequences of disengaged employees is about $7 trillion in lost productivity, it’s high time we found the managers we need.

How many highly engaged managers do you have on your team? Given the leverage that great managers deliver, what tactics will you deploy first?

You can read more here.

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