1: The data is crystal clear.
A 48 percent decrease in safety incidents. A 37 percent decrease in absenteeism. A 41 percent decrease in quality defects. A 65 percent reduction in turnover. A 10 percent increase in customer ratings. A 21 percent increase in productivity.
The cherry on top? A 22 percent increase in profitability.
These were the results of the Gallup Organization‘s meta-analysis of the relationship between employee engagement and performance outcomes comparing the top-quartile and the bottom quartiles for employee engagement. The study incorporated 263 research studies across 192 organizations in 49 industries and 34 countries, studying 49,928 business work units and 1,390,941 total employees.
The bottom line? Associate engagement drives the bottom line. Better business results. Period.
2: It begins with leadership, Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in Leading Well from Within: “When employees feel inspired by their leader as a person and by that leader’s vision and thus experience the sense of safety and belonging that leader creates, they become more engaged and connect more fully with their colleagues and customers.”
Danny tells us there are two ways we can show up as a leader: With a creative mindset or with a reactive mindset.
According to the Leadership Circle data, “leaders with a creative mindset achieve higher levels of business performance as assessed by sales and revenue growth, market share, profitability, return on assets, quality of products and services, new product development, and overall performance.”
The second type of leader often feels “threatened by their underlying stress and self-doubt and adopts a reactive mindset in response. They tend to,” Danny explains, lose “access to their circuits of empathy and compassion, triggering socially contagious fight-or-flight cycles of reactivity that spread through the culture, causing others to feel threatened.”
Reactive leaders tend to fall into one of three categories: They tend to be either “overly complying (conservative, pleasing, passive), protective (arrogant, critical, distant), or controlling (perfectionistic, driven, ambitious, autocratic).”
3: So, what are the elements of creative leadership?
A Leadership Circle study found these leaders “are (1) relational (having interpersonal intelligence; caring; and the ability to foster team play, collaborate well, and mentor well), (2) self-aware (having a learner mindset, composure, balance, and selflessness), (3) authentic (having integrity and courage) and (4) achievement-oriented (being purposeful and visionary, strategically focused, decisive, and results-driven).
In addition, and especially important to cultivating culture, (5) “they have systems awareness (demonstrating systems thinking and community concerns, as well an ability to create sustainable productivity).”
Danny notes the ability to build relationships is critical: “High-performance leaders appreciate the importance of deeply caring for their employees, which results in engaged employees operating in a culture of creativity, which results in rich and rewarding customer experiences, which keeps customers coming back, making it highly likely they will recommend the product or service to others—which results in profit (and happy shareholders).”
What’s true for organizations is also true for “the culture in families, communities, nations, and even the world as a whole,” Danny writes.
Reflection: What leader inspires me?
Action: Journal about it.