In my new book Ingaged Leadership, I write that when leaders invite people to bring their beliefs, emotions, ambitions and hearts to a shared enterprise, extraordinary things happen. When everyone works together in Ingaged partnership, the organization becomes vastly more successful.
That’s the philosophy that I have been applying for many years in the organizations that I have led. I assume that it sounds interesting to you. Yet if I were sitting in your seat and hearing about it for the first time, I would probably be thinking, “What are the specifics? Exactly what do Ingaged leaders do that is different from what other leaders do?”
What Do Ingaged Leaders Do that Is Different?
We’ll explore that question in a moment. But before we do, I would like to explain that I do not expect that everything I propose will be brand new to you and your leadership practice. I assume that you, like many leaders, are already finding success by using aspects of Ingaged leadership – but possibly in limited ways. So in this article, I will open the Ingaged leadership toolbox and suggest some practices that might be new to you.
Practices of Ingaged Leadership
Ingaged leaders . . .
- Strive to create an organization where everyone works together in partnership.
- Invite and encourage everyone to define, shape and implement the organization’s vision and mission.
- Ask for help and offer it when needed, because doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- Work side-by-side with employees to create individual plans for their growth and advancement in the company.
- Create ongoing employee forums and other opportunities where employees can express opinions and ideas, then cultivate those ideas by using them, helping to develop them, or encouraging employees to cultivate them and submit more.
- Cultivate a culture where negativism is discouraged and good attitudes take hold.
- Enable people to do what they want to do, instead of telling them what to do.
- Explain what the company is doing, clarify the reasoning behind plans, and invite people to contribute.
- Fight complacency (“if it ain’t broke . . .”) and lead a search for opportunities to grow.
- Involve employees in long-term succession planning that helps them shape a bright future for themselves and for the organization.
- Invite everyone to help create strategic plans for long-term growth.
- Listen actively and attentively, but stay attuned to hearing what other people say that is right, not what is wrong.
- Set aside personal opinions and allow people to try things that are risky if they truly believe in them.
- Make “big questions” (“What do we stand for?” . . . “What makes us unique?” . . . “What makes people want to work here and build their future with us?”) a central part of company life discussions and processes.
- Offer benefits that are so good, employees would never think of working anywhere else.
- Invite people to help plan and create a company that values families and a healthy work/life balance.
- Openly share company financial data and other critical information, so that all stakeholders know how the enterprise is really doing.
- Recruit and hire employees who have not just skills, but values that fit with your company’s.
- Solicit 360ᴼ feedback about their own leadership activities, and share that feedback with everyone.
- Surround themselves with people whose skills and abilities are different from, or better than, their own.
- Take pains to differentiate facts from opinions.
- Utilize performance reviews as opportunities to discover new ways for employees to develop their own visions and plans for their futures in the organization.
In Summary . . .
What is Ingaged leadership? What am I suggesting? I am proposing that you and I, as leaders, should engage in a process in which we rethink not just better ways to handle what we “do,” but the fundamental aspects of why we lead.
I invite you to read Ingaging Leadership and join me in my commitment to transform the practice of business leadership in a new and deeper way.