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According to Harvard Business Review, 50% of new leaders fail within their first year. While it may be tempting to pass this off as simple inexperience, MIT Sloan claims that 50% of previously successful leaders also fail when moving into a new role.
Psychological Safety is, 'the belief a team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking such as providing feedback, asking questions, and owning mistakes.'
Picture driving a car with an alignment problem. The faster you go, the more it will start to shake. Teams operate in the same way. A small misalignment now, will cause your team to 'shake apart' the minute you need them to go faster.
Ambiguity is the quality of being open to more than one interpretation. Alignment cannot exist when ambiguity is present.
Creating alignment requires psychological safety. Ambiguity thrives in unsafe teams because people are afraid to question things they don't understand. Ambiguity makes alignment impossible, causing teams to fail, regardless of the leader. This is why ServantEQTM begins at the organizational level, to create the environment necessary for leaders to be effective.
Here is where we put the EQ in ServantEQTM. Emotional Intelligence is, 'the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of others.’
When you build a team, you don’t know the environment your people came from. You may ask a question, genuinely seeking someone’s input, only to be met with defensiveness. You had no idea when their old boss asked them a question it was simply to set them up to look bad, and they have no idea that genuine curiosity from a leader is the norm here.
The point is, you can build the safest environment in the world, it still won’t prevent people from responding poorly if they don’t know how to process their emotions.
There's a reason why the World Economic Forum has identified EQ as the most important skill for workers to have, and a reason why leaders who do not establish it in their teams are destined to struggle.
Servant Leaders meet the needs of their followers, so those people are in a better position to meet the needs of the organization. This requires the opportunity to know what those needs are.
Managers answer questions. Leaders question answers.
The safety you've built gives your people the confidence to come to you with potential answers to the problems they face. The EQ you've built in them allows you to question those answers without them growing defensive.
The point is, it is only after you have built an environment safe enough for people to give feedback, and given them enough EQ to respond constructively to that feedback, that you can begin to understand where your work lies as a leader.
This is where conventional leadership development fails, by focusing solely on the leader and neglecting the impact the environment and the team have on that leader's ability to be effective.
Engagement is, 'the emotional connection one has to their company's values & objectives.' Solving engagement requires an understanding of emotion.
Gallup states that leaders, 'account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.'
We bristle somewhat when we see stats like this because for too long, low engagement has been viewed as a product of a 'bad leader.'
Engagement has less to do with whether a leader is good or bad than it does with the tools and framework that leader has been given.
We built ServantEQTM to provide those tools and to build that framework. This is why we say it is not merely a way of growing leaders, it is a method for improving leadership.
Make no mistake, becoming a Servant Leader will not happen overnight. It is a journey.
To help, we've written an eBook entitled, 'The Journey'. It will walk you through the steps in the ServantEQTM process, including timelines and costs. Download your copy using the form below.
The conventional approach to leadership is extractive. Leaders harvest effort and emotional resources from their people in service of the organization.
All this has left us with is an 85% employee disengagement rate, $1 Trillion in voluntary turnover costs per year, and the lifespan of the average S&P 500 company shrinking from 56 years to less than 15 years in the past four decades.
So much for sustainability.
Leadership can go from extractive to renewable. Work can become a place where people go to have their cup filled instead of emptied.
It just takes a few leaders bold enough to make the switch.
Modern leadership is a problem of energy. Your people need you to meet their needs in order for them to meet the needs of the organization. The best version of you is therefore needed to empower the best version of them. Fail to have your own needs met as a leader, and you are placing their needs at risk.
of employees would take advice from a complete stranger over their new boss. (Harvard Business Review)
baby boomers are leaving the workforce DAILY from now until 2029. (The Balance Careers)
of organizations anticipate a shortfall of leaders within the next 5 years. (Brandon Hall Research)