Employee Engagement & Leadership style go hand in hand . Everyone knows that an inefficient leader produces a dissatisfied, unproductive employee. On the other hand, good leaders produce committed, engaged and productive employees.

Is Employee Enagement Important?

A study of 160,576 employees working under 30,661 leaders in different organisations around the world showed that the average commitment level of employees under bad leaders was very low whereas the average commitment level of employees under the best leaders were very high.

The ratings were given by bosses, colleagues, etc. using 360 assessment of leadership abilities.  The workers under bad leaders were also unhappy and the ones working under good leaders were more committed than most of their counterparts.

According to Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, the world leaders in leadership development consulting, there are two different styles a leader can adapt to engage employees. In one approach the leaders are called the drivers and in the other approach the leader is  called the enhancer.

The Driver Style of Leadership & Employee Enagagement

The Driver sets high standards for excelling for the employees. They make the employees expand their goals and aspire to things that are beyond their original goals. They keep the employees focussed on the highest priority goals and objectives and also help them in achieving those goals and objectives.

The Enhancer Style of Leadership & Employee Enagagement

The Enhancer type of leader helps in solving the issues and concerns of the employees, and also acts as a role model for them. They give essential feedback in an honest and helpful way, develop people and build trust.

Which Style of Leadership Gives Higher Employee Engagement ?

Which of these two approaches to employee engagement works best? In an informal survey about this, the Enhancer type of leader got the most approval. Also, most leaders believe that employee commitment can be enhanced if the leader is a nice person.

But the numbers show a different story. In a survey, the employees were asked about their level of engagement on a scale of 1 to 5, and also if their leaders were enhancers or drivers. Those leaders who scored 75th percentile were judged as effective drivers or enhancers.

From this data it was found that 8.9 % of employees who judged their leaders to be effective drivers, and not enhancers, rated themselves in the top 10% in terms of employee engagement.

One Style of leadership is not Good Enough , Go for a blend

This analysis shows that being a just driver or an enhancer is not sufficient. Both approaches of leadership are needed for successful employee engagement.

68% of employees under leaders who were both enhancers and drivers scored in the top 10% in satisfaction and engagement in the organisation.

So it is clear that it is not enough to determine which approach is better. Instead, leaders should include both approaches to create highly engaged employees and also be considerate, trustworthy and collaborative in their interactions with employees.

So a leader who is a driver should try to be the nice guy, and the leader who is a nice guy should be firmer and set more demanding goals for his employees.

Both the leadership styles should be used together like the oars of a boat ,with equal force so that maximum employee engagement is achieved.

Jappreet Sethi

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