As I look over the landscape of leadership development, here’s my conclusion: nothing much is new in the way of leadership principles. There are new tactics, but not many new principles. A good friend of mine used to say, it’s like “Old wine and new bottles.” And despite the sizable amount of research that exists on the tactics to improve leadership effectiveness, there are still many leaders who don’t feel compelled to learn.
This reminds me of a county agent who went out to a farmer to invite him to attend some classes on better farming techniques. He gave the farmer the times and place and said, “Will I see you there? ”
” Nope,” said the farmer.
“Well, why not,” asked the county agent.
“Well, you see,” said the farmer, “I’m not half as good a farmer as I know how to be. Why should I learn anything more? ”
This describes us all to a large degree. We’ve been talking about the advantages of employee involvement and participation for decades, yet sizable portions of our leaders don’t follow through. Why should they be interested? From our research, here are at least a few of the payoffs feedback and coaching can bring.
1. Improved Employee Productivity
Zenger Folkman did a study with 1,884 leaders in a large energy organization. We had bosses, peers, direct reports, and others evaluate their leadership and coaching skills. One important attribute we find among employees who have great leaders is their “willingness to go the extra mile.” We also found a direct correlation between leaders’ coaching effectiveness and team productivity. As you can see in the graph below, better coaches have three times as many people who are willing to go the extra mile.
2. Greater Employee Engagement
In the same study we found that employees were not only more productive, but good coaching also increased their engagement. Leaders in the 90th percentile for coaching effectiveness had employee commitment scores in the 88th percentile. Butleaders in the 10th percentile for coaching had employees at the 15th percentile for commitment. Correlation is not always causality, but this is impressive data.
3. Improved Retention
Who likes trying to find new talented employees and get them up to speed? The loss of time and money spent with new hires causes harm. Our research is clear about the effective business coach have on retaining employees. More than 60 % of employees who report to managers who are not good coaches are thinking about quitting, versus 22 % who report to the best. As we looked, we found the data differed slightly from company to company, but the pattern is consistent.
4. Employee Growth
Employees who receive coaching and feedback feel they are given real opportunities to grow and improve. They want opportunities that will challenge them and coaching that will guide their success. Employee development is clearly related to satisfaction, commitment, and retention. It’s the right thing to do.
5. Supervisor Effectiveness
From my experience I have found that most people want to be liked. This study also shows that employees who received coaching and feedback rated their supervisors more positively as well. A boss who takes a little time out of their busy schedule to have a coaching discussion can greatly increase the positive relationships both ways.
In the same study we found that employees were not only more productive, but good coaching also increased their engagement. Leaders in the 90th percentile for coaching effectiveness had employee commitment scores in the 88th percentile. But leaders in the 10th percentile for coaching had employees at the 15th percentile for commitment. More than 60 % of employees who report to managers who are not good coaches are thinking about quitting, versus 22 % who report to the best. Employees who receive coaching and feedback feel they are given real opportunities to improve and grow.