There is a disappointing truth emerging from workplaces worldwide: just 30 per cent of employees are actually committed to doing a good job, 50 per cent are passing their time, while 30 per cent are acting out of discontent in counterproductive ways, negatively influencing co-workers, being absent from work, and displaying low levels of professionalism – this according to a State of the American Workplace report in 2013. The reason behind this state of affairs was identified as poor leadership.
The simple truth is that those at the top or who enjoy power are unwilling to give any ‘direction’ to others. In the US alone, disengaged employees (byproducts of poor leadership) are costing the economy more than half a trillion dollars each year.
Harvard professors of strategy W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne have advocated a new “blue ocean leadership strategy” to overcome workplace leadership woes. Their underlying insight is that leadership should be thought of as a service that people in an organization either ‘buy’ or ‘don’t buy.’
Managers do not intend to be poor leaders, but they become ineffective when they are unable to bring out the best in everyone and create a high impact. Kim and Mauborgne had drawn on their previous research to help leaders understand and release the “blue ocean” of unexploited talent and energy in their organizations, rapidly and at a low cost.
According to this philosophy, every leader has customers: the bosses to whom the leader must deliver performance, and the followers who need the leader’s guidance and support to achieve objectives. When people value your leadership practices, they, in effect, ‘buy’ your leadership. They are inspired to excel and act with commitment. But when employees don’t buy your leadership, they disengage, becoming non-customers of your leadership. The strategy focuses on the action of leaders and not their image.
* Thirty per cent of employees in the workplace are disengaged
* Leadership should come from the top, middle and frontline
Source: Debasree Banerjee, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Corporate Communications Manager, Blue Ocean Academy-Dubai