OnBoard Winter 2016 - page 20

Through research with top employers, we know that
effective leadership is a key differentiator for companies
that achieve high engagement levels and strong business
results. In these organizations, people leadership is a
business responsibility — leaders take every opportunity
to inspire a shared purpose and influence the engagement
of others. But what distinguishes “engaging leaders” isn’t
they do as much as it about
they do it.
What are Engaging Leaders?
Aon Hewitt’s research indicates that engaging leaders are
“nearby leaders”— they are accessible to their teams, they
show genuine concern for their people, and they enable
performance by making people feel empowered to act. All
leaders have their own unique backgrounds and skill sets
that inform their style, but we have found that engaging
leaders have three specific qualities in common that
differentiate them from the pack:
1. Critical experiences
Engaging leaders have had experiences that transformed
them as individuals, shaping their fundamental
understanding of people, work and what it means to lead.
These early experiences almost always see these leaders
acquire deep learnings from tough assignments involving
ambiguity or difficult transformations.
2. Guiding beliefs
Engaging leaders have a set of guiding beliefs that
determine how they approach work and how they
behave and interact with the people they lead. This core
philosophy includes ideas around “servant leadership,”
the notion that leadership is a responsibility and not
about status or reward, and that relationships,
emotions and trust matter.
3. Displayed behaviour
Engaging leaders impact the engagement of others
positively and exponentially through their day-to-day
actions and behaviours. Engagement is infectious, and
engaging leaders take a personal stake in their team,
acting in ways that demonstrate and share their own
commitment and purpose. They stabilize and energize
their colleagues, acting in the service of their people by
taking time to connect and grow with those they lead.
They are authentic in their actions because of the simple
fact that their behaviours are aligned with their beliefs.
Aon’s Engaging Leader Profile
What can you do to
cultivate engaging leaders?
Engaging leadership starts at the top. Leaders in the middle
ranks of organizations take their cues from executive
leaders. Ensure your senior leaders are completely
committed to creating a culture that identifies, nurtures
and celebrates engaging leaders. Use employee surveys,
personality profiling and 360-degree reviews to understand
the current state of your leadership team and identify
priority areas for coaching and development. Provide the
ongoing support to build a bench of leaders who excel at
engaging others, and leverage those leaders to foster a highly
engaged workforce and enhance business performance.
Looking to improve employee
engagement? Start by building
Engaging Leaders
By Madeline Avedon
Associate Partner, Aon Hewitt, Performance, Reward & Talent Practice
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