September 21st was (unbelievably) the 13th Leading Wales Awards – wonderful to take time once again to celebrate leadership and leaders in Wales.
This year as we held our Leadership Conversation CPD events around Wales as part of our nomination drive, our theme was about engaging leadership and its impact on increasing workplace performance and productivity.
At the Awards this year, we were privileged to have the Admiral Inspire Choir singing for us during our drinks reception. Their choir is led by InspireMe and involvement in the choir is just one of the ways in which Admiral actively seeks to engage its staff. Started in 2008 the aim of the choir is to allow people to develop confidence, self-esteem and increase their motivation, all of which help them in their day-to-day activities in Admiral. It’s also an opportunity for all of them to chill out and have a bit of fun, at the same time as re-energising themselves. It provides an opportunity for staff from different departments and with different levels of responsibility to meet up weekly to rehearse and regularly (as today) do performances to support charities and local community projects. Through the building of voice skills and confidence it is great for the choir and great for Admiral as a business.
The Admiral Inspire Choir members led by InspireMe gave us a real-time demonstration of what one example of engaging leadership is like in reality. Huge thanks to everyone!
Our Leading Wales Awards nomination and judging processes assess leadership behaviours and attributes as well as assessing impact and achievement of goals. We identify and recognise those leaders who inspire their employees to become engaged, and hence their leadership is transformative as well as being about setting and delivering on current targets.
In other words, we seek outstanding leaders who are both transactional and transformational; to lead in this way is a tall ask, requiring a lot of energy and focus and additional effort & care.
Engagement seems to have become a bit of a buzz word! There are loads of definitions of it around with no particular one being definitive.
Personally, I like the Forbes definition which is:
“Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2012/06/22/employee-engagement-what-and-why/#5075270f7f37)
I believe that leadership that inspires builds engaged employees and customers who have that emotional connection with the organisation and what it is aiming to achieve; such leadership is transformative because engagement is directly correlated to levels of work place performance and productivity. This means the higher the levels of engagement, the higher the levels of work place performance and of productivity.
In reality, research into engagement in Wales flags up that only a small percentage of our work force is really engaged at work and the majority of employees simply actively manage their disengagement.
Therefore, if we really are to drive up our productivity and prosperity in Wales, leadership that is ensuring the delivery of current targets of the service or product or charitable cause is essential in every organisation. However, to build the sustainable future (and the “Wales we want to see”) it is equally vital to provide inspirational leadership that creates engagement.
We need both.
(These were many of my opening words at the 13th Leading Wales Awards on 21st September 2017.)
Very many, many congratulations to all our 2017 finalists and winners: