The challenge of increasing productivity in a positive and sustainable way in this challenging business environment demands a broad range of leadership skills, and a new level of understanding of how to create the positive conditions required for continuing high levels of engagement and high performance.
Research has shown that high levels of engagement lead to increased productivity. In order to create these high levels of engagement it will be necessary to use an approach I call “Positive Leadership”. Positive Leadership requires good development of abilities to perceive, understand, express, reason with and manage emotions, both within themselves and others. Positive Leadership requires a high level of consciousness of our own and others feelings, and the effect emotions have on decisions, behaviour and performance.
“A new leadership paradigm seems to be emerging with an inexorable shift away from one- way, hierarchical, organization-centric communication toward two-way, network-centric, participatory and collaborative leadership styles. Most of all a new mindset seems necessary, apart from new skills and knowledge. All the tools in the world will not change anything if the mindset does not allow and support change.”
Grady McGonagill and Tina Doerffer (The Leadership Implications of the Evolving Web, Bertelsmann Stiftung Leadership Series)
The Positive Leader will use these skills, as well as excellent communication skills, to create an environment of trust and respect that supports high performance. They will encourage a sense of partnership, collaboration and participation. They will understand the motivations of their people, and know how to acknowledge their contributions, and build commitment. They will be focused on developing the skills and capacities of their people in line with their strengths and interests. This will include building a “leading culture” where many people can effectively lead projects or initiatives rather than the focus being on The Leader. This will be necessary to build the flexibility and adaptability required to deal with complex problems and rapid change.
Building strong and effective working relationships at all levels of the organisation and across functional areas will be a focus. They will know how to set appropriate goals and communicate positively about expectations. If they are able to apply the Mindset of Positive Leadership, the result will be increased engagement, productivity and profitability for the organisation.