Top 5 Leadership Resilience and Engagement Articles May 2015

Top 5 Leadership

Each month I read a number of leadership resilience and engagement articles from various online resources. Here are my top five picks from last month. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top 10 Company Culture Killersby Jeff Fermin

(Office Vibe) There are certain types of management styles that just destroy employee motivation. The old-school “MANAGEMENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT!” approach is proving to do more damage than good. Though there is data to back up how poor management can negatively affect a business, companies may be unaware of the things that can cause disengagement in the workplace. So we’ve compiled a list of the ten things that will destroy a company’s culture.  

My Comment

I love a good infographic and this list is a good visual reminder of the things that can create a toxic culture. In addition to the images is a good article to back up the main elements that they identify as the root cause of toxic culture. Their top 5 killers are big egos, micromanagement, eliminating perks, bureaucracy, and disengaged employees. Whilst I don’t agree with the order, it is a good list.

5 Elements to Mastering Employee Engagement

by Sophie Deering

(The Undercover Recruiter) If you’re looking to improve performance and productivity within your organisation, then you may want to focus on boosting your employee engagement.

Your employee’s satisfaction within their job has a large impact on their performance at work and by creating a level of mutual respect between employer and staff, this can result in improved commitment and loyalty within the organisation and in turn a grown sense of enthusiasm for work.

My Comment

The author nominates recognition, rewards, culture, purpose and autonomy, which is a good list. It correlates well with Daniel Pink’s research contained in his book Drive, where he found that today’s information employees are most motivated by purpose, autonomy and mastery. Also contains a good infographic.

Managers with High Wellbeing Twice as Likely to be Engaged

by Annamarie Mann and Jade Wood

(Gallup) Every company needs great managers to achieve its strategic and performance goals, but the competition to attract and retain them is brutal. Only one in 10 people have the natural talent to manage a team of people, and just two in 10 people possess any characteristics of managerial talent. What’s more, Gallup has consistently found that engaged managers, like engaged employees, are much less likely to leave companies than their actively disengaged counterparts.

Managers who are thriving in 4 or 5 of the wellbeing areas – social, physical, purpose, financial, community, are twice as likely to be engaged.

My Comment

In my workshops and keynotes I stress that the first priority of any leader is to keep themself in the Green Zone (positive mood). To stay in the Green Zone it is important to take a holistic approach to health – physical, emotional, career and community. This Gallup research shows why this is important for the leader, their tribe and the organisation.

Mental Resilience is the Strongest Predictor of Job Satisfaction

(Robertson Cooper) The link between job satisfaction and job performance has been the topic of frequent psychological research since Roethlisberger & Dickson published their first examination in the 1930s. Over the course of the 20th century, industrial psychologists, managers and businesses alike have been using this concept to better understand what makes people tick at work – and underpin their recruitment, promotion and training strategies.

The most recent study on this relationship is the ‘Made to Measure’ initiative, analysing data from over 4,200 men and women collected through psychometric tests. The thinking is that if the skills and temperament of a person was a good fit for the requirements of their job role, then they would have a higher sense of job satisfaction. Mental resilience was shown to be the best predictor of job satisfaction according to this study.

My Comment

I remember a quote by Muhammad Ali that a champion must “have will and skill, but the will must be stronger than the skill”. I don’t think it is surprising that resilience is the most important differentiator because most hiring managers focus on existing skills, but with the rate of change in most workplaces, it is essential to continually adapt and grow – and this is where those with high resilience will thrive.

Female Bosses are More Engaging Than Male Bosses

(Gallup)  In 1953, Gallup first asked Americans, “if you were taking a new job and had your choice of a boss, would you prefer to work for a man or a woman?” At that time, two-thirds of Americans said they preferred a male boss. Five percent said they preferred a female boss, and 25% volunteered that it made no difference to them.

Fast forward a little more than six decades later, and the contrasts are striking: Gallup asked Americans the same question and found that now one-third would prefer a male boss while 20% would prefer a female boss, and 46% say it doesn’t make a difference to them. Amid these evolving sentiments, Gallup reports in State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders that employees who work for a female manager in the U.S. are actually more engaged, on average, than those who work for a male manager.

My Comment

These findings should increase the case for greater diversity in leadership (as if that was still required). In my experience female leaders are more collaborative and less competitive than males as a general rule. Research also shows that those organisations that have a diverse board are more profitable.

Graeme Cowan is an author, speaker, and workshop facilitator who shows leaders how to build their resilience, mood, and engagement and create thriving tribes. To inquire if Graeme could assist your tribe please email Renee at

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