A consulting colleague told me today about a four day leadership meeting he facilitated. Everyone was excited. The CEO had been talking the event up and made sure everyone knew he would be there ready to participate. But the leadership event came and went--without the top leader--and without any explanations as to why he wasn't there for this "important" leadership training meeting.
Another colleague told me yesterday about a CEO who had asked him to do 360 feedback sessions with the "leadership" of her company. What the CEO meant to say was "I want you to do the 360's with everyone on a 'leadership' level--except for me and my senior leadership team."
There's a lot of talk today about employee engagement and the consensus is, "Houston, we have a problem." I agree, we do have a problem--but maybe not the problem we think. Do we really have an employee engagement problem or do we have (first and foremost) a leadership engagement problem? I think it's the latter.
Our so called employee engagement problem is really a leadership problem in disguise. To get at the employee engagement problem, we have to get at the leadership engagement problem. If we want to raise the level of employee passion and performance, we have to raise the levels of leadership engagement (how leaders engage "employees") in our companies and organizations. That's the first step in leading an employee engagement revolution.
If leaders want their employees to be engaged, they have to go first. That is what leaders do--they go first. They provide an example; they provide a living example of their vision in action--especially in how they think about and how they engage their followers. The fact is, we don't have an employee engagement problem, not really. But we do have a leadership engagement problem.
What most leaders don't realize, is how they create the problem of "employee engagement." That's because most leaders think they are doing "just fine, thank you." On a conscious level, most leaders think they can always improve. But on the subconscious level, they don't really believe it's critical that they do improve--at least not today.
Leaders need to rethink the employee leadership problem and ask this question: "What do I have to change in myself to begin an employee engagement revolution in my company?" The leader who asks self this question is the kind of leader who recognizes that employee engagement begins with leadership engagement. That kind of leader is the leader who attracts and develops engaged employees.
Anything less than that will get "less than" results.
The truth is it takes engaged leadership to lead an employee engagement revolution.
Let me know what you think.