The world has seen many leaders, but the realm of leadership continues to remain intricate and tricky. Some say that individuals are born leaders — while others assert that leaders rise to the occasion. This debate will certainly go on through the eternities. The fact remains that there is no obvious pathway to effective leadership or to becoming a leader.
Leadership is not something that we can explain via a mathematical formula, but leadership skills certainly affect employees and the employee’s productivity.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis.
What is a Good Leader?
Good leaders are always looking out for ways to better themselves, and it’s through this that effective leadership is born. In addition, successful leaders explain that leadership is affected by many things or what others may refer to as leadership skills.
On the other hand, there are also different types of leadership styles which are key factors for business success or failure. From autocratic leadership, democratic leadership, and transformational to participative leadership, all these influence leadership efficacy in many ways.
However, despite the type of leader one is, the results of leadership depend on leadership skills. In workplaces, leadership duties and responsibilities span everything! It can either break or make an organization, and that’s generally through its impact on employees.
Findings by The Conference Board indicated that disengaged employees cost organizations up to a whopping $550 billion annually. Moreover, about 73% of employees cite leadership as a major determinant of their morale. With that, leadership skills matter a lot in any place where they are required.
What are Leadership Skills and Examples?
Leadership skills are abilities that an individual demonstrates to influence others. This influence is mostly aimed toward a desired direction or outcome. Leadership skills are essential in management and crucial for employee performance. They also influence a variety of outcomes, and these include employee productivity, innovation, turnover, and a company’s profits.
When we talk about leadership skills in contemporary times, we are talking about a broad spectrum. This spectrum includes empathy, open communication, creativity, and adaptability. Besides, strategic thinking and the ability to delegate and mentor are also essential for leaders.
Apart from these, effective leaders must have quality interpersonal skills. Further, they must be able to inspire, and they must have the desire to keep on learning. With such traits, leaders can script their history and leave a footprint that others can learn from.
But how can all these traits impact employee productivity? This is exactly what this blog explores and aims to answer. In this blog, we draw a correlation between the personal effectiveness of a leader and employee performance. So, let us get started without further ado.
5 Ways Leadership Skills Affect Employee Productivity
Employee productivity can be defined as the level of output of an individual employee during a given period. Employee productivity is good when employees are efficient and can complete more within a few hours. Apart from that, employee productivity is termed ideal when the available resources, such as raw materials, are optimally utilized.
However, all this is largely influenced by the nature of leadership in an organization. So, how do leadership skills influence employee productivity?
Although leadership skills may be taken as mere traits, many of these skills correlate with a given type of leadership style. Leaders can fall under several leadership umbrellas, such as autocratic, authoritarian, democratic, participative, transformative, and so on.
The most commonly leveraged leadership styles include democratic, autocratic, transactional, and bureaucratic. Autocratic and authoritarian leaders make decisions by themselves, i.e., without seeking others’ thoughts, especially the employees.
Democratic and participative leaders, however, inquire about and consider others’ knowledge, skills and differences. They generally cultivate a platform where employees can openly express their views and feel comfortable at their jobs.
On the other hand, servant leaders are focused on others’ interests. For example, they promote the well-being of their teams, engage them in decision-making, and besides that, they share authority with their subordinates. There is also open communication which encourages employees to share their opinions.
Several studies indicate that democratic and transactional leadership styles have a positive impact on employee performance. But autocratic leadership models hurt employee results since they render work environments strict.
With this, it’s clear that some work environments may not be conducive to some employees, and this can directly affect their productivity. Introspecting on the type of leadership skills you possess using different reflection models can help you identify your weak areas.
Self-reflecting will also help you review your effectiveness as a leader with respect to employee performance. This can help you develop better leadership skills that can produce a conducive work environment for better employee productivity.
Great Leaders Lead By Example
Leadership is more than just getting things done through people or securing resources for a company. As much as a leader is supposed to oversee the quality of work that employees offer, the element of leading by example has a huge impact on employee productivity.
Leading by example is a crucial leadership trait that can largely make a huge difference in employee productivity. It can inspire and motivate teams to do as you do, for example, when it comes to time management.
A great leader will set fine examples of conduct, self-motivation, resilience, accountability, and integrity. Such a leader will be seen as a role model by the sincerest employees of the organization. Having said that, when leaders lead from the front, employees will step up too. This is how a great leader can make team members far more competent than they have ever known.
The greatest leaders of the world are those who do not just pass instructions and guidelines. Rather, excellent leaders will do the needful and show how it is done appropriately. This is how strong leaders inspire an entire generation of hard-working team members.
Also, a leader who sets goals and follows deadlines can also motivate employees to do the same. This, in the long run, leads to better employee productivity. However, leaders who don’t lead by example fail to show the exact picture of their rules, and this limits employee involvement.
Additionally, leaders who lead by example and are also resilient can help an organization through tough times. It would be easy to implement new rules and influence employees to follow them. This can surely make a huge difference in employee morale and productivity.
Enhances Employee Engagement
Engagement is key to productivity, yet leadership skills are major determinants. Leadership skills that frustrate employees, demean them, or provide no room for belongingness sabotage employee productivity.
For employees to be happy and productive, there must be a conducive work environment besides employee perks. Another key factor for employee productivity is inclusion and collaboration. Having a diverse workforce and making the most of it by promoting inclusion are two very different things. To keep a diverse workforce engaged, you also need to promote a great sense of inclusion. This is where your personal effectiveness as a leader matters immensely.
When a leadership style provides room for the expression of views or caters to work-life balance, it increases employee morale. Besides that, leadership styles that offer promotion avenues, career development, and deployment of skills positively impact employee productivity.
Therefore, leaders ought to understand their teams and align their skills accordingly. Leaders should try to improve internal team communication and provide constructive feedback. Open communication is very important in an organization as long as it’s formal. It can help leaders realize gaps that hinder employee growth, productivity, and development.
The latest statistics indicate that over 38% of employees don’t feel appreciated, yet 69% say that they would work harder if their efforts were recognized more. With that, any leader should prioritize feedback by cultivating a culture where employees are assessed and made to understand their performance. This can lead to better performance, even in low performers.
Impacts on Creativity & Innovation
It would not be incorrect to say that in contemporary times, innovation is the most sought-after business USP. Effective leaders know how to lead the way with innovation. They are ready to take risks associated with innovation, and they foster a similar attitude across their teams.
Quality leadership skills inspire but also provide a platform for employees to display their creativity. A willingness to take risks is one of the key leadership skills that can help employees showcase their creativity and become more productive.
Creativity generally refers to the power to realize new ideas and recognize opportunities. Employees become more creative when they are motivated at their jobs.
On the other hand, creativity can lead to innovation. Employees can bring about new inventions if they have high morale to work and are fully engaged in their work.
However, the opposite is also true. When rigid leadership skills are leveraged, especially with autocratic leadership, there may be no or limited room for creativity. In this case, leaders may not be good problem solvers as they rarely involve employees in decision-making.
Transformational leadership is a leadership style that offers room for creativity and innovation in an organization. It can also bring about positive transformations since it allows employees to become more creative and innovative.
Accountability is a must-have leadership skill for employee productivity. But there are many cases when leaders fear getting involved in their team members’ mistakes. This creates avenues for low productivity.
Employees don’t require micromanagement. However, they can easily become unguided if the leader is distant from them. This can result in miscommunication, confusion, and low productivity.
As a leader, be concerned about improving your employees’ productivity. You can set key performance indicators and recommend productivity improvement tools to help them work smarter.
Ensure to take charge of certain roles to help your employees perform better, for example, updating and analyzing spreadsheets and providing related resources that can benefit employees.
Employee productivity has a direct correlation with company ROI and growth. Companies where employees perform exceptionally enjoy a good public image, a low employee attrition rate, and higher profits. Besides that, these organizations have an increased chance of having smooth change management or traversing through challenging times.
All in all, a leader needs to attain a range of leadership skills to increase adaptability and better management. Leaders can also follow a single leadership style to attain sizable results or manage change in an organization. However, understanding the different leadership styles and discovering where you fall can improve your leadership efficacy.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!