Why nice managers create more engaged and better performing teams

Two business women looking at a paper and discussing

A new type of leadership is here to stay. This is how it makes employees grow and your organization flourish:

A study made at the world’s top business school, Harvard Business School, showed that people who were praised before doing tasks under high pressure and stress performed much better compared to people that did not receive any encouragement prior to the test. Another study by the scientists Emma Säppälä and Kim Cameron at Stanford and Michigan Universities stated that successful leadership is not built on classic corporate terminology such as effectivity and performance but rather on profoundly humane terms such empathy, kindness, respect and forgiveness.

In dynamic and flexible organizations where employees are encouraged to be responsible and take their own initiatives, problem solving and seeing themselves as part of the solution makes them truly passionate about their jobs. They become more creative with more gumption, and feel better, supporting each other more.

Goal oriented instead task oriented

An important building block in this process is to implement a culture where the manager is goal-oriented instead of task oriented. This means skipping micro management and controlling how tasks are performed, instead focusing on the results. An environment is created where people themselves find solutions on how to perform the task and reach the goals. The leader’s most important task is to act as a support, to guide when needed and to ensure that the focus on the common goal is maintained.

The philosophy behind it is very simple: Everything humans do by themselves and are fully invested in becomes more fun and engaging. When the result is achieved it is also much more rewarding.

Importance of encouraging positive values

Most organizations today have a collection of values and a culture built on a framework created by the management board. We often hear, ”this is what we are and this is how we act”. A bunch of individuals – all of whom carry their own values – are then put into those stiff organizations with the mission to carry out and live up to the created culture, which they themselves have not been a part of creating. Somewhere along the way there will be a clash of cultures between the employees and the corporate culture that they are forced into and supposed to embrace. It gets as uncomfortable as ill-fitting clothes. The reason why is not complicated: You simply cannot force values on somebody else. Values must grow organically, from within, as a result of interactions between individuals.

We need to embrace and acknowledge an organizational structure that is flexible and dynamic, where the people it consists of are aligned. It is on the foundation of their skills, needs, thoughts and competences that organizations are to build upon.

Creating a passionate workforce

Democratic thoughts and high EQ is imperative in order to create a successful culture colored by high engagement and performing individuals. When employees transition from authoritarian management to embracing self-leadership and involvement, an organization with strong driving forces will emerge. Only when a person feels as if “this is my company”, will they fully develop the courage to step up, to share thoughts and ideas and to stand up for them. Additionally, their initiatives and innovation power will increase.

In the ultimate form of the new leadership, all individuals see themselves as leaders in a well-greased and transparent machine. This is the destination that Vocean – through its digital collaborative services – endeavors to help organizations reach. A typical manager behind a large desk who dictates how something should be done and how the culture develops, is thus an outdated image of successful leadership.

During the decade there has been an evolution where more and more organizations are changing their structures and leadership. Still, most organizations are lagging. In the long run (or even very soon according to some) that will have a negative effect on those entities. Those organizations that dare to deal with their culture, that have the courage to embrace trust and passion, as well as to invest the time and effort needed to accomplish real, deep reaching change will see their employees thrive, as well as their business.

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