Generation “Y” Employment: The Candidate Perspective

Generation Y

Today, employment ads from recruiters and HR generalists are on the rise despite the current economic woes canvasing the nation. This is a good sign that the economy is starting to gradually improve in some areas.

As Generation Y (“Gen Y“) job candidates are an ever-growing part of the applicant pool for employment openings at corporations, companies may need to re-evaluate their Gen Y recruiting strategies to meet workforce demands.

Hasty Makes Wastey

Recruiting today seems to be a rush-job. And it usually looks takes a one-size-fits-all approach toward sizing up talent. To fulfill the open employment requisition, recruiters get a position description and scour the internet for a match. Recruiters find a CV (resume) that matches the position description and then simply send an often-canned, cold and generic email.

With this type of lackadaisical approach to finding talent, recruiting today has become less and less personalized.

Many companies do not embrace a diverse recruiting strategy that mirrors the current diverse pool of applicants. This approach is not always the best means to attract certain qualified talent, particularly Gen Y talent. I’ve seen minimal use of cross-generational recruiting because of the lack of a recruiting strategy and approach based on different demographics.

A Baby Boomer will not respond to the same style and approach of recruiting as a Gen-Y’er.

A Customized Approach

Generations view things differently and thus expect different ways of being recruited. With an ever-changing and more diverse workforce, recruiting must become more unique and customized if organizations wish to attract the best possible Gen Y talent.

So how do you properly hire and retain Gen Y talent?

The Right Steps

In order to get the best talent from the Gen y talent pool, follow these steps to make sure you are taking the appropriate approach to connecting in a manner that serves you and your candidates best.

First Contact

Gen Y values a personalized touch. A canned and generic email will often turn them off immediately to a potential new position. If sending an email inquiry to a potential Gen Y candidate, use their name, not “dear candidate.” Take the time to discuss why you think they may be a fit for the role as it relates to their own experience.

This lets them know you have actually reviewed their CV and job goals and not just mass emailed based on a keyword search. Gen Y also values details, so for the quickest possible response, include the job description, and why you see them as a fit in the first correspondence.


Gen Y is a tech-savvy generation. If first contact regarding a possible new role peaks their interest, they waste no time in responding. They utilize the technology at their finger tips (WiFi, Blackberry email etc.) to promptly express interest.

They expect the same in return.

If your organization has high interest in the candidate, then don’t let communication lapse. Respond proactively, promptly, and personalized with establish next steps.


Once the time for the first conversation has been set, use that time to set clear expectations with the potential Gen Y candidate. Take the time to explain in detail what they can expect in the new role and from the organization, and what would be expected of them. Be congruent, honest, and transparent about everything from salary and work life balance, to culture and roles and responsibilities.

Gen Y is very tuned into organizational culture.

One of the main reasons Gen Y talent tends to leave an organization within the first year is because what they were told they can expect is not the reality. Try and prevent this from the first conversation.


Be prepared for Gen Y to ask detailed questions regarding not just the potential role but the organization overall. Gen Y views interviewing as a two-way process. Often recruiters don’t have the specific information required to answer certain questions.

If this is the case, make sure the people the candidate interviews with are knowledgeable of the various parts of the organization and can answer specific questions.


If the process leads to making a job offer, then do not only do so in writing, but also make the personalized phone call. This call should come from the person who will be the candidate’s direct supervisor. Often disconnects exist between recruiting and the actual departments and managers who the employee will be working with.

Gen Y values open and honest communication in all directions.

Having the opportunity to speak directly with the individual they will be reporting to offers them the opportunity to begin to build a relationship immediately and get any last-minute questions and concerns addressed.

After the offer is accepted, the next step is a process called on-boarding, but it doesn’t end there. Recruitment is phase one, once the employee joins the organization focus must be placed on engagement and retention – success is an ongoing cycle.


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Scott Span
 is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
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Obama Jobs Speech: Real Life Leadership Lessons

Jobless AmericaReal life leadership lesson: Be transparent, congruent, and authentic to yourself and to those you lead!

[To Be ClearI am wearing my organization development (OD) practitioner hat here. This is a non-partisan analysis of a real-life event to highlight what I believe are imperative traits of successful leadership; transparency, congruence, and authenticity!]

Leadership Ain’t Easy 

After watching Obama’s recent jobs speech, a thought struck me – leadership isn’t easy!

President ObamaDon’t get me wrong, as an organization development practitioner, leadership development and coaching is part of my work, and an area that can often be difficult for my clients.

However, the very public scrutiny of how high-profile figures, such as Obama, handle leadership difficulties seems to be more in public view and debate than ever before.

The public debate seems to be is Obama a “wimp” or isn’t he, though to me that’s not the real issue. The real issue is focused around perceived leadership traits.

People now see, hear, act, and react to information faster than ever before.

Speed of Digital

In this digital age of instant information, timing, transparency, congruence, and authenticity are more important than ever if leaders expect the support of their followers (or constituents).

As Kathleen Parker mentioned in the Sunday Washington Post regarding Obama’s jobs speech,

“Obama tried to unite the nation with his purple rhetoric, but he missed his window when it came time to act. The jobs speech he gave Thursday night was 2 ½-years late, and the health-care reform bill he pushed through against a tide of opposition was a calamity of bad timing.”

I saw the timing and tone of the speech to be long overdue and the authenticity of some of the content to be based more on a sense of urgency than on actions and ideas that can really benefit those he leads.  Politics aside, from an OD perspective, I couldn’t help but think “…yes, his timing was way off,  but I think there is more than the issue of timing!”

LeaderBrief Logo


If Obama had been authentic to himself and to his followers, and not caught up in political mumbo-jumbo (yes I know he is a politician…), given the tension and the divide of his followers (We the People), this issue would have been a topic addressed long ago in a timely and transparent manner.

Bossy Boss

Obama’s transparency shined through, but it was a transparency of frustration with the system in which he must operate as a leader, and less a transparency of genuine concern.

And the interesting thing I found is that I do think, as a leader, he has concern for his followers.

All leaders have to operate in political systems, not just politicians. Though sometimes difficult to maintain a balance between personal and systemic authenticity and transparency, maintaining that balance is a vital skill to successful leadership.

The article went on to say this:

“Instead of commanding, Obama seemed bossy. Rather than inspiring, he came across as hectoring. This is partly because Obama was trying to be something he’s not. He is not a pot-banging politician but reflective and cautious. Rather than quell the emotional disarray born of fear and resentment, he pounded the drum of class warfare. He shouldn’t expect to see white flags in response.”

I agree.

Leading In Sync

Keeping my OD hat on, I would say that he was incongruent! That is, what he was saying was not in sync with his feelings and thinking, he came across as not being his authentic self and it showed!

To truly inspire people they lead, leaders must be authentic and congruent, if they fail to do so their people will notice and they may not only lose respect but also lose their following – and in today’s digital age they may lose it faster than ever before.

 “We believe in our people and we believe in trying to inspire them. To me that’s the start of leadership” ~ Joe Paterno, Penn State Football Coach





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He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
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Economic Leadership Development: Is O.D. the Rx?

OD Jumpstart

To jump-start the US economy, is an “Organizational Development Intervention” needed?

A recent US Senate hearing on the recruitment and hiring of college graduates made it clear that the Senators as well as the panelists from government and academia faced difficult questions about the future of the  workforce  and the dismal U.S. economy.

The harsh reality is that the marketplace is not producing enough jobs for college grads.

“In today’s economy, many students are graduating only to find that they are locked out because the marketplace is not producing enough jobs. At the same time, federal jobs in science, national security and medicine are difficult to fill. We must develop innovative strategies to bridge this gap.” 

~Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat and chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management

Negative Effects

The recession of 2007-2009 caused huge layoffs and some early retirements in the federal workforce. The current economy has resulted in heavier work-loads for employees left holding down the fort – as I’m sure many of you have witnessed firsthand According to a recent report from Mercer 2, an outplacement and consulting firm, the snail’s pace growth in the job market means workers are reluctant to leave jobs, even if they are overworkedunhappy and not focused on their employer’s success.

Even though they stay, stagnant wages and slow company growth is creating low employee morale. This has an overall negative effect on company revenue and customer service.

How to Produce Growth

It's About People

So what can be done to inspire employees and job seekers in both the public and private sector, to increase employee morale and produce economic growth that can yield enough jobs for everyone including college graduates?

How can America’s largest companies and the federal government work together to improve everyone’s bottom-line?

The answer is an organizational development intervention.”

An organizational intervention is not just a fancy name for “let’s pay a consultant to make our employees happy.” An organizational intervention is a conceptual, organization-wide effort to increase an organization’s effectiveness and viability.

Responding to Change

These interventions are usually a response to change.  They consist of strategies intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of an organization so that it can better adapt to new technologies, markets, challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself.

OD interventions, if properly designed and deployed, contain a set of processes designed to bring about a particular kind of result. Though some federal government agencies and private sector companies may utilize some organizational development principles, they rarely take the time needed to establish customized people development strategies or to go deep enough to create lasting change that can foster exponential growth.

Organizational Health

What, where, when?To increase organizational health, engagement and productivity and spur organizational growth, what is really needed is to conduct an “organizational development intervention.”

In considering organizational development intervention strategies for my clients I often include several concepts to which I have found to be successful adapted from Richard Beckhard’s Addison-Wesley Organization Development Series.

The Prescription

  • Customization

Organizations are like fingerprints, no two organizations are the same, no two cultures are the same, and thus organizational development strategies are not a one size fits all. The strategies must be customized to fit the particular organization and circumstances

  • Leadership commitment

Any intervention or change strategy requires a committed sponsor and champion. Leadership must be committed to the outcome and communicate their commitment throughout the organization to achieve successful desired results.

  • Follow through

Organizational interventions cannot be a one off event. For improvement strategies to be a success they must be followed through to the fullest extent; both by those leading the efforts and those impacted by the intervention strategies.

  • Course correction

Success doesn’t happen overnight. The first organizational intervention may not always succeed how it was planned. It is imperative to get feedback from those throughout the impacted groups and change direction, tweak the approach and course correct as needed.

Focusing on these strategies will help guide an organization to individual and organizational success and lead to increased employee and customer satisfaction and financial growth.

The Bottom-Line: Effectiveness

The System

Any one of these strategies can be used to improve the effectiveness of people and teams.

When combined with other organizational intervention strategies they can also synergistically produce a positive effect on the organization.  Enthusiastic employees are more likely to be committed to their organizations.

Committed employees are more likely to deliver satisfaction to customers, which leads to increased revenues, which leads to more consumer spending, which leads to improvement in theU.S. economy which … well you get the idea.

Perhaps Senator Akaka and his panel of experts should consider organizational development interventions as part of their innovative strategies to help attract, retain, and engage the current and next generation of workers; as the ability to do so will help positively bolster the US economy.

Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

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Leadership Clarity: Can They See You Now?


Though it seems a clichéd notion improving your company culture starts at the top, you have to lead by example.

Is what you say what they see?

To make sure, just lead by example to improve your organizational culture.

Be Somebody Real

If you’re a leader who promotes a company culture of “do what I say, not what I do” your company probably won’t be a happy place for your employees.

Comedian Lily Tomlin once said this:

“I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific.”

Being a  leader of  a successful organization with engaged employees and happy customers is definitely being somebody specific. So, how do you become the type leader your employees will want to work for and your customers will want to do business with?

It takes some leadership skills, a dash of self-awareness, and a little luck bit of luck.

Leading Like a Leader

Research suggests that your people will not go above and beyond the call of duty at work unless they first see you “busting butt.”

A recently published study in the Journal of Applied Psychology points out that the best way to encourage the behaviors you want from your employees or those you manage is to lead by example, let them see you practicing the behaviors  you want them to exhibit.

As a leader, creating a positive company culture is a part of your job description.

Ethical, innovative, and transparent leadership helps create a culture that encourages employees to be at their best. It also encourages employees to be creative in ways that can boost your bottom-line and to be loyal when it comes to sticking around.

But remember, if you want them to share views of the bottom-line, you have to create a company culture that offers them “a piece of the organizational pie.”  Building a productive company “pie” can often be achieved through a culture of sharing, collaboration, connection and creativity.

Additional “fillings and toppings” can be added to taste.

Basic Training

Let’s review some basic ingredients:

As you might expect, a positive culture is founded on more than just paid lunches, personalized parking spaces, or free gym memberships.

According to Dr. Ralph G. Nichols, a pioneer in the study and teaching of listening, “the most basic of all human needs is to understand and to be understood.”  Clear, concise and transparent communications are aspects of successful leadership.

Great leaders make great efforts to understand what is important to others.

Listening to, and talking with, employees to find out what you both expect will help clarify expectations for your staff, and in turn, will help you learn what motivates them. It also sends a message that collaboration and communication are important factors in the success of the organization.

This effort to understand others opens the door to strong communication between leadership and the company’s biggest asset – its employees. This two-way flow of communication and information sharing will help build a culture of trust, an imperative to a positive organizational culture.

Listening to find out what motivates employees is the first step a leader can take to develop a positive company culture.

Be the “Action Hero”

Once you’ve taken the time to listen to, and hopefully seek to understand what your employees are saying, it’s time to conduct some follow-up actions. To begin, create an action plan to improve the workplace based on employee feedback. Taking action is important – it shows employees that you respect their ideas and that you take them seriously.

Remember that employees generally are committed to their jobs and want to succeed, though often they may feel leadership doesn’t support them in doing so, thus it is important for their voices to be heard and to follow-up with actions based on their feedback.

In taking action, set yourself up for success. Quick wins are always a great place to start. Rather than considering every idea that you’ve heard and feeling overwhelmed, try moving forward on one or two of the ideas that you know you can implement well, and implement quickly.

Save the remaining ideas on a prioritized wish list to revisit with employees.

Make sure you act on the concepts within a reasonable timeframe for you and the company. Listening to employees and taking action will inevitably lead to a positive culture, better employee engagement – and most importantly – improved bottom-line.

Accentuate and Articulate

Too often, leaders assume employees have awareness and understanding of the reasons behind business tactics and strategic and organizational changes – when in fact they do not. A clear and concise mission, vision and strategy must exist.

These things must be accompanied with frequent communications about processes, policies and procedures, and articulation of how employees’ day-to-day work plays a part in accomplishing organizational goals.

Employees need to understand the big picture and the role they play in achieving organizational success and improving the culture.

The more collaborative the culture and more frequent the communications, the more effective the outcomes.

Employees often think – “what’s in it for me?” Collaboration, feedback, transparent communication, and follow through on engagement actions are all activities that help to answer this question. This also helps employees feel they have a personal stake in the company which helps meet organizational goals and create a positive culture.

Collaborate and Cooperate

We all know the adage, no man (or women) is an island… Well this holds true for leaders as well.

An individual or a select few, regardless of level in the organization – cannot create a successful company alone.  Culture change that leads to an organization’s success is a process of give and take by various members of the team – with the leader serving as the guide.

Everyone in the group responsible for achieving the goals should be involved in some capacity in formalizing strategic direction, developing solid processes and procedures, and implementing metrics to measure success. When employees are engaged in working on meaningful ways to achieve success it’s a good time to grow, deepen, and further develop collaboration and innovation.

Give employees room to follow through with their ideas while remaining in a positive supporting role, acting as a guide who helps put their creativity to best use. It’s also important that employees understand what perks and benefits they’ll enjoy as a result of their efforts.

Collaboration and discussion of tangible ways of putting ideas into action, and then holding yourself and the team accountable for achieving set goals, is imperative to creating a successful organization with a positive culture.

Direction + Communication + Collaboration + Follow Through = Success!

Successful companies are places where frequent and transparent communication occurs, where employees’ ideas are heard, where creativity and innovation are encouraged and where leadership is approachable and accountable.

You will know your company culture is creating a positive effect when your employees are not only following your lead, but are remaining engaged and trying out new ideas and meeting or exceeding your expectations.

Take the lead, be the inspiration and reap the rewards of being the person you want your employees to be!

Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

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Repairing Workplace Lines of Communication

What? I told them… Didn’t they hear what I said?!?!

“Why don’t they understand me?”

“What do you mean they didn’t know?”

“Why does no one listen around here?”

Communication Breakdown

Clear communication is a necessity for any functional team and organization. Yet, all too often there is a gaping void in what was thought to be said and what was actually heard. Consequently, the entire process breaks down and all we end up with is noise. Noise that was never heard.

So with so much misunderstanding and so many packets of information never making it to their intended destination, one must imagine that there is a better way to go about this thing called “communication.” To see where we can find and answer, let’s start with a few good questions…

  • How do we improve internal communications?
  • What has worked well at other organizations?
  • Communication Repair Team

    In working to improve communications at various large-scale and global organizations, a few things that I find work well, whether internally or externally, are these solutions to repairing broken lines of communication:

    • Start by assessing your organization’s culture and structure via the lens of communications. Are you a virtual culture, a hierarchical culture, centrally located or scattered offices, privately or publicly held company, for profit or no profit etc.?
    • Survey your various audience groups and stakeholders. Perform data collection. Ask what works well, what doesn’t, what communications vehicles they prefer, which they read/use most often etc.
    • Interpret the responses to data collection and decide what can be done within the given culture and structure of your organization.
    • After you decide what you think may work best, have a debrief session with those audiences you asked to give advice. After all, if you want improved internal communication, it should start with actually communicating!
    • Implement specific content, vehicles, and frequencies based on the above. Don’t be afraid to contact a consultant or subject matter expert for a neutral review of your findings and help implementing recommendations.
    • Re-evaluate periodically. What communication strategy/plan works the best for your organization will really depend on understanding the culture and structure and implementing appropriately and then course correcting as needed.

    Have you ever witnessed or been party to circumstances where poor communications was a “best-practice?” Have ever had to deal with a leader who did not know how to effectively communicate their thoughts, vision, or expectations? How did that work out for them or for the team? Or, have you ever been guilty of either not speaking or listening carefully enough? How did that make the other people feel or behave? I would love to hear your stories!

    Bookmark Repairing Workplace Lines of Communication

    Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
    He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

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    What is The Business Case for Trust?

    I am repeatedly asked to make the business case for trust.

    Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, both personal and professional, yet it sometimes seems to lack in the workplace. Why?

    Trust Me…

    One reason that is seems to be lacking in the workplace is that trust is one of those intangibles things that is difficult to quantify and measure in easy ways. This means that showing a value-add and making the business case for trust can sometimes prove difficult. Other than the usual statements about trust reducing transaction costs, increasing employee and customer loyalty, and shortening the sales cycles, evidence seems difficult to find.

    One thing I’ve used as an example with clients is the financial crises in the U.S. Due to the unethical business practices of the leaders of some of the financial institutions and government polices that put social concerns over financial prudence, the markets went on a downward spiral. The U.S. Government tried to help bail out the banks and restore consumer confidence, but those efforts failed to bring positive growth in the private sector.

    Although positive progress is being made in some areas, it’s being made very, very slowly. This is partly because the American people (and many others across the globe) have lost trust in the U.S financial system and those affiliated with running those types of firms. The massive deficit spending also has most people in investment markets losing trust in the ability to pay back the piling debt.

    It will be a slow process to regain this trust, and we may continue to see the negative impacts for some time.

    Noticing the negative impacts that lack of trust and transparency have had on the U.S economy, and using this as a real example for clients, seems to give a tangible basis for the necessity of addressing trust in the workplace.

    Concerning a review on on the popular book The SPPED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey, reviewer Sahra Badou says this:

    “There is one thing that is common to every individual, organization, nation, and civilization throughout the world–one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, and the deepest love.

    On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. According to the author, that one thing is trust.”

    Without Trust

    I like to offer a cause and effect view on trust to my clients:

    Without trust within your company, your engagement, and morale will suffer.

    ~ If engagement and morale suffer, then retention declines.

    ~ If retention declines, then costs increase and performance slips.

    ~ If performance slips, customer satisfaction declines.

    ~ If customer satisfaction declines, revenue declines.

    ~ If revenue declines too much, business stops.

    This example serves as simple and tangible business case for trust, one that highlights the importance of increasing trust in the workplace.

    So, what are you doing to help your bottom line by working to increase trust? How are your daily behaviors reflecting trust-building with the people you work with? Are you also behaving in a way that extends into your customer base and supply chain? Would the people around you say that you work to build trust? I would love to hear your comments!

    Bookmark What is The Business Case for Trust?

    Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
    He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

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    Lead or Fail: Successful Leadership in Turbulent Times

    Turbulent Times

    Leadership isn’t what it used to be. The corner offices are slowly disappearing. The days of barking orders and expecting people to blindly follow are over.

    Accountability, responsibility and transparency are on the rise – though someone should tell that to BP CEO.

    Workforce demographics and diversity are changing. The days of leading like Franklin M. Hart Jr. are over.

    It Ain’t Easy

    This is not to say that being a leader was, or is, ever easy; or that earlier fundamentals should be tossed aside. However, in tough times, remaining a great leader can be even harder.

    So what makes a successful leader in turbulent times? First and foremost, the ability to adapt your leadership style to changing environmental influences is key to being a successful leader. Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup says that “in the new normal,” old ways of doing business won’t work anymore.

    The men and women who will conquer this new world will be the ones who best understand their constituencies’ state of mind.” ~Jim Clifton

    By state of mind, Clifton is referring to new revelations being uncovered by behavioral economists — starting with the discovery that human decision-making is more emotional than rational.  As a leader, Clifton shares a similar mindset to many behavioral scientists and organizational development practitioners.

    His view is that one of the most fundamental states of mind that leaders need to understand is the needs and desires of their employees: “…their will to work, their will to live, their will to revolt, their will to follow you.

    Another element of state of mind is emotional affect: “how much stress your constituency feels about money, about trying to get to work, about their relationship with their boss.” Clifton believes that to be a successful leader you have to firmly understand states of mind.

    In his view, everything important; everything human comes down to states of mind. The leader who is the best at understanding, relating to and communicating states of mind will be the one who wins.

    Not that leadership is about winning or losing, however it sure is about winning over those you lead. As an organizational development practitioner and behavioral scientist, I share Clifton’s views; understanding and exhibiting certain human behaviors help to shape great leaders and great organizations.

    “Leadership is best viewed through the eyes of the follower.” ~Tom Schulte

    Behave Yourself!

    Here are some behaviors of great leaders during turbulent times:


    People can usually tell when “something is up.” So before the rumors begin flying and productivity is impacted, leadership should tell employees. When making strategic decisions, determining organizational changes or facing issues that impact employees, successful leaders need to be transparent with their workforce about how these matters arose, their thought process for dealing with them, and how their solutions may directly impact those they lead.


    Being in a leadership position can sometimes be a solitary role. Often leaders make decisions in a vacuum and rely on managers or supervisors to communicate important information downward. Successful leaders lead through two-way communication. Much of it is nonverbal. For instance, when leaders “set the example,” that communicates to their people that they would not ask them to do anything that they would not be willing to do themselves, this only helps to make leaders seem more human to employees.

    Particularly in turbulent times, people value direct interaction and communication from leaders. This not only helps to show that leaders are remaining committed to the people in organization, but also offers an opportunity for them to step out of the “tower” and build relationships with employees.


    Trust is a fundamental behavior for any relationship, both personal and professional. According to a study by the Hay Group, a global management consultancy, there are 75 key components of employee satisfaction (Lamb & McKee, 2009).

    They found that: Trust and confidence in top leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization. Trust must be earned. Leaders can earn employee trust by helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy, informing them how they contribute to achieving key business goals and sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division is doing relative to organizational objectives.

    It is much easier for employees to trust a leader that shows an interest in them.


    The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to the organization; compassion for employees and both their professional and personal situations.  His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama says, “I call compassion the global staple…for all people in every endeavor.” In employees’ eyes, what leadership does affects the organization’s objectives and their well-being.

    When a person is deciding if they respect a leader, they don’t think about attributes, rather they see what leaders do. Observations can often tell an employee if a leader is an honorable and trusted person or a self-serving person, one who misuses authority to look good and get promoted. Self-serving leaders are not as effective because their employees only obey them, not follow them. When leaders show compassion and understanding for employees and their situations, it becomes easier for them to notice that their leaders are interested and concerned, and not as self-serving as possibly thought.

    Self Awareness

    Successful leaders have a heightened level of self-awareness, they have an understanding of themselves, their behaviors and actions, and how those behaviors and actions are interpreted by, and directly impact, employees. A good example of leadership self-awareness is exhibited in the U.S. Army’s leadership philosophy of “be, know, do.”

    Be proficient and competent, know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses, and do take responsibility and lead by example. Always be open to further growth and learning. Professional coaching is also a great well to help further develop leader self-awareness.

    A colleague shared a speech with me given last year by Marillyn Hewson, President of Systems Integration-Owego, Lockheed Martin Corporation on the subject of leadership in turbulent times. To Marillyn, leadership is a set of personal behaviors that set the course and create an environment that energizes people to meet a goal.

    Marillyn says “…it’s easy to be a leader when everything is going great. The challenge is how you act when things go wrong. In times of great change… or tremendous challenge… that’s when the leadership fundamentals matter most.”

    Most competitive and sustainable organizations have great leaders at the top, and in the ranks!

    Do you think you are one of those great leaders? Do you exhibit the best behaviors in the ares of transparency, communication, trust, compassion, and self-awareness? If not, what are your points of struggle? What are you doing to better your daily behaviors to become a person with even greater influence? I ‘d love to hear your story!

    Bookmark Lead or Fail: Successful Leadership in Turbulent Times

    Scott Span, MSOD
    is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
    He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

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