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Dr Mats tip of the day - 033 - Engagement through Disruption

Leadership was identified in my PhD research as being a key factor in organizational change outcomes - a key component in the Leadership factor was Engagement.

Today I will focus on staff Engagement in Disruption, yet many of the issues may also apply to other stakeholders including customers, banks, shareholders and suppliers (topics for another day).

Engaging staff is far more than merely communicating with them (although communication is another element of Leadership) - communication is all too often a one way street, where Leaders tell their side of the story and go away in the belief that staff know what is required, know the direction and for some reason will join the organizational direction. Well sorry to say - staff do have opinions ! they have beliefs and are free to ignore or resist what leaders tell them (in some cultures disagreeing may be just the norm to leaders communication).

Engagement is more about listening to staff, hearing their genuine views and gaining their contributions - it is quite likely your staff have something to say about what ever your change in direction is about. Staff may have questions, seek to understand your rationale and improve your ideas. The powerful autocrat (less frequent today) may struggle with the concept of real engagement - as it means listening and modifying plans and ideas with your staff help - quite different to tell and forget practices of the past.

Your openness to real engagement is important - as staff will know if you say "engagement" but just ignore their ideas. Sure the staff may come up with suggestions that are not palatable - so create an evaluation criteria that is linked to your reason for change, this way you can more easily communicate what has influenced you and why.

As mentioned above this engagement may require new leaders, new leadership styles and practices - for without real engagement with your staff will find it very difficult to convince your customers that everyone is really on board. The skills involved for engagement are a variety of communication forms, new listening forums and techniques, as well as genuine feedback and appreciation of what staff recommend. Leaders that are shallow thinkers or poor listeners or do not engage themselves - may ultimately hurt your organization.

So there is also the Disruption angle/element to consider for the modern Leader - as discussed previously Disruption will emerge fast, uncertain with lots of risk. The process of engagement will likely need to change - it may need to be faster, be more creative and change a lot. Leaders wanting to engage will need to build trust and constantly engage staff as partners in the business. Slow and rigid leaders may prove to be too slow, so may lose trust or hurt the organization. New leadership hiring criteria may be required NOW to avoid problems as Disruption emerges in the future.

If you are a Leader or seeking to be one in the future - you need to read, read, read about Disruption NOW ! Those that fail to understand and adjust will fall behind.

Feel free to ask Dr Mat over a chat or email on Leadership, Management or change issues, advice, consulting or mentoring that you may seek.

These and other related topics feature in Dr Mats upcoming book titled "Leading and Managing Change in the Age of Disruption and Artificial Intelligence" - written for the modern professional, student and academic wanting to be ahead on modern Leadership and Management issues. Available through Amazon and other book sellers from May 24th 2019 - . This book has been strongly endorsed - so use this link to review the endorsements and their comments - consider buying this book or recommend it to colleagues or friends/family

Consider your own specific situation and seek professional advice before acting directly in reaction to any of the tips on this website, they are intended as general advice only.

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