Many of us like to think that leadership is defined by a style. However, research suggests 3 hallmarks of leadership strength that you may not have considered before but, with just a little extra focus, could greatly change your ability to influence greatness in your organization. Credit: Shutterstock
Meander through your career history and you’ll likely recall both your best and worst leaders. Some could probably get you to achieve the impossible. Some may have actually inspired you to achieve very little—except maybe plan your exit strategy. And, although many of us like to think that leadership is a certain style of personality—a style that either clicks, commands, or motivates—research from the O.C. Tanner Institute shows 3 hallmarks of leadership strength that you may not have considered before, the cumulative prowess, endurance, and well-being of the team behind the leader.
“I used to think that burning the midnight oil was impressive,” Marco, the manager of a social media firm told us. “And, I applauded employees who would stay late, order in dinner, and drink coffee until after midnight. But, my health was suffering.”
“My boss was snarky,” said Louise. “He would make a lot of jokes—and they were jokes—about his sales team being his sled dogs and servants. His way of recognizing us was to tell us that we weren’t as pathetic as he once thought we were. It was emotionally exhausting even though he thought he was being funny.”
Kara also wrote in to tell us about one of her former employers, a television newsroom. “Our boss didn’t want us being friends with our coworkers,” she wrote. “We had all moved to the same city from different places. We were all in our 20’s and just trying to get our careers off the ground. Our news director didn’t like us hanging out because she thought we were talking about her. So basically we had to pretend that none of us were friends.”
These 3 examples spotlight areas that, although they appear to be just examples of bad management, can have a massive impact on your ability as a leader to inspire great work from people: promoting physical, emotional, and social wellness in your team, department, and organization.
3 Hallmarks of Strength
The study, in fact, showed that when leaders practice all 3 of the hallmarks and promote positive employee wellbeing, they see huge returns like:
- 157% increase in employee engagement
- 30% increase in output and productivity
- 120% increase in innovation
- The intention to stay at least 2 years longer with the company
Those are impressive increases. But, there’s still a problem—many leaders miss the opportunity to focus on all 3 areas of wellbeing. Some may be good at offering physical wellness leadership but not so good at emotional. Or, some leaders may be very good at fostering social wellness (building strong friendships and teams) but perhaps the constant string of happy hours are having some effect on physical wellness.
Leadership can often be a tricky concept to define and implement. But, this research shows something that anyone can use to impact their ability to lead—it proves that if you focus more on the wellbeing and strength of your people, rather than just your own leadership style, the results can be astounding.