In the current competitive business arena, good financial results and metrics are often the main determinants of a company or a leader’s strength. This defines a “metrics-driven” business culture and leadership. The management guru Peter Drucker said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Top-level corporate goals drive the metrics for business activities, which are quantifiable and measurable. With the increased availability of data and better ways to track, monitor, and store that data, a leader can improve the company’s performance by focusing on the information provided from various company metrics.
However, the most successful leaders do more than analyze data. They create a successful company culture where they focus on meaningful connections and relationships with their people, thereby creating trust among their employees, partners, vendors, and customers.
Why leadership should not be just about data
It is natural to focus on metric-driven performance as an indicator of business success. This is not only important but also measurable, whereas something such as employee engagement is not traditionally easy to quantify. However, these qualitative elements are now being recognized as important drivers of business success and are the trademark of great companies. So much so, that many companies are investing in software to help with employee engagement during their journey with the organization.
Leadership is a relationship
What distinguishes a great leader from a good leader is that person’s ability to foster deep-rooted and trusting connections with the people they work. The founder of The Lash Professional treats her fellow artists and customers as lifelong friends, creating the Lash Sisterhood community. It takes effort and intention to find the right team and to build good and trusting relationships. According to Kouzes and Posner, when leadership is based on relationships with people, those people will dare to take risks, make progress, and effect change.
Ways to foster relationships in leadership
- Culture of Trust: When leaders share their passion and vision openly and clearly throughout the organization and encourage their employees to work towards that vision, a sense of purpose is created that can help power the expected business goals and results.
- Effective listening: Listen with compassion to understand others’ underlying sentiments, concerns, and interests. This way, you can build a safe environment where everyone on your team can make their voices heard. One of the most successful ways to listen is to create a safe space where you can ask questions and receive candid answers. You can do just this by using a tool like Bluepulse – a people engagement network – to foster an ongoing two-way connection with your employees.
- Empathy: Last, and arguably the most important, is empathy. When a leader can put themselves into the perspective of their employees, a trusting relationship is developed. A little more vulnerability is helpful because others can see the leader as another human being just like themselves.
The Big Picture
By utilizing these tactics, you can ensure that your employees feel heard and that you are focused on the bigger picture – people – and not just on data.