Based on the results of the 2022 Federal Employee Perspectives Survey and the number of leadership-related issues included in the minimum percentage of agreement items, this article is treading dangerous waters when talking about leadership. I’m pretty sure I’ve highlighted it below, but I think it’s very relevant and important to talk about. The barriers and demands of leadership can be debated, but based on these results and the hundreds of thousands of individuals (civilian and military) who participated in this study, leadership is a continuing and pervasive continuation. It’s a challenge. you can’t ignore it.
From the 2022 Government-Wide Management Report based on the 2022 FEVS results:
“A high score below indicates a positive employee view of the agency’s practices and policies. But items with low scores that indicate aspects of federal agency that employees may perceive the need for change are equally important. Government leaders and regulators review low scores to make decisions and determine actions to improve workplace functioning and conditions (e.g. items related to performance and communication)”
Don’t Leave Leadership to Opportunity
Our staff come to work each day with the expectation that they will be there to do their job, but too often we leave this to optimistic hope. If we don’t take the time to communicate to our team members what we want and what we expect from their performance, we’re handing over responsibility and leaving the outcome to chance.
Without leadership, humans wander and do whatever they want. Just as parents can’t blame their children for being let loose on the playground, even if we let them loose in an organization without understanding what we expect of them, we You can’t blame team members.
It’s All About You
The Army defines leadership as “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while working to accomplish a mission and improve an organization.” The only person it doesn’t matter is you, it’s just a peripheral thing about the authority of your position. Leadership is about effectively influencing assigned staff members for the successful completion of assigned tasks, projects, and other activities. Whether you’re the senior, the most experienced, or the most skilled has little to do with it. The reality is that you can fail as a leader, but failure is not an option for leaders. If we fail as leaders, it is our approach to leadership that fails.
I know leadership is not comfortable for many of us, but the reality is that in human endeavours, if action, activity, or behavior is expected, we need someone to take that role. and the responsibility to make them come true. That is the role of a leader, without which a team can become lost and disoriented.
Conversely, when our team members are given direction and guidance on activities and behaviors, we find that they (mostly) go where they need to go and do (mostly) what they need to do. When our people start seeing us as a leader, a provider of direction and guidance, a boss if you will, they suddenly miraculously get better, more willing to follow and strange things start happening. Morale rises, productivity begins to rise, and expectations are generally met.
Being specific about what we want from our employees makes our expectations clear, but it means that we go beyond words and act, reinforcing and enhancing the first interim steps towards achieving them. It only matters if we support it. Our words as leaders allow us to demonstrate our willingness to talk about change and rising expectations. Dedicating our actions, time, resources, and efforts to our journey shows that we, as leaders, are willing to walk that path.
praise is important
If our employees do what we ask them to do in this journey, we forget that we need to address them when they fail and celebrate them when they succeed. Did you? This is especially important and one of the most motivating ways to fail as a leader.
People, our team members, want to know that they matter. Growth and success will seem less important to them than they should be if we’re there just to tell them when they fail. I promise no lightning strikes. Team members may find themselves working harder for that approval and recognition. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself accomplishing everything your team asked for. How cool and pleasantly rewarding can that be?
Where do I start?
Not sure where to start on this journey from good to great? Delve into your organization’s FEVS results. I don’t have all the answers, but it’s a great place to start.
If you are told that your senior management has a problem with integrity or honesty, try to understand what is causing that perception and try to appear to fix it. If you have concerns about how high and low performers are managed, fix it and watch them fix it.
Surveys like FEVS are a holistic view of you as a leader and your organization. How will FEVS present you and your organization this year? What can you do to ensure that view next year?
Leadership is about providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish a mission while improving an organization. Where they go and what they do is up to you.
Brian Canning currently works as a Change Management Specialist at the NIH and has 30 years of experience in the auto repair industry and has held many senior management positions. He is active as a Business His Consultant and Leadership His Coach and has published over 70 of his articles primarily on leadership and business processes.
© 2022 Brian Canning. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the express written consent of Brian Canning.