During the past several months, multiple clients and peers have raised the “millennial issue.” This issue can be summarized by the question: how do you engage employees born after 1980 (and before ~2000)?
A quick check of Gallup’s Employee Engagement webpage indicates that overall employee engagement is only around 32% and so it seems, the question of how to engage millennials might be broadened to how to engage employees of all ages?
There is clear research supporting the hypothesis that both local leaders (managers) and senior leaders (executives) have a role in the level of employee engagement of an organization. That is, the attitudes of both managers and executives at an organization directly influence the level of employee engagement.
In the organizations that we work with, it is more common than not to hear that the employees would “do anything” for the owner. The loyalty that the owner creates is vulnerable on two fronts: the attitude of the local manager (that may undermine even the strongest owner loyalty) and the withdrawal of the owner (as he/she gradually or suddenly prepares to leave the company in someone else’s hands).
Fortunately, there is a solution that addresses vulnerability on both fronts. That solution is to develop executives and local managers in the art of leadership and, specifically, “Primal Leadership,” as described in the book, Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee.
Although it is beyond the scope of this piece to go into any detail about Primal Leadership, it is worth noting that in Harvard Business Review, the authors stated: “A leader’s premier task—we would even say his primal task—is emotional leadership. A leader needs to make sure that not only is he regularly in an optimistic, authentic, high-energy mood, but also that, through his chosen actions, his followers feel and act that way, too [employee engagement]. Managing for financial results [performance], then, begins with the leader managing his inner life so that the right emotional and behavioral chain reaction occurs.”
Developing leaders at all levels to be “Primal Leaders” is THE PATH to improved performance, financial results, employee engagement and successful owner exits.
With millennials in the workforce, perhaps primal leadership is more important than ever.
Contact us if you have questions, feedback or want some assistance developing your leaders/increasing employee engagement.