Can managers be big-picture thinkers, visionary helpers and major employee engagement drivers? Can we imagine their roles to be greater than just carrying out the orders? The answer to this interminable hot debate is a clear yes!
What does the 21st century demanding of these managers? The old “command and control” approach doesn’t inspire company-wide independent thinking and collaboration needed.
According to Gallup, a manager’s role is far more than supervisory, and managers influence 70% of a team’s engagement. They are the swiss knives to add creativity and innovation to the indigenous culture of the organisation. It would not be fair if we do not acknowledge them as the most effective visionary helpers, who transfer their vision to the employees, take the result based initiatives and set the stage for success. Given the impact of employee engagement on business outcomes, we need to develop managers for leadership competencies.
In the VUCA (“volatility,” “uncertainty,” “complexity,” and “ambiguity”) environment, “leadership is more about influence than control,” says David B. Peterson, director of executive coaching and leadership at Google.
Today’s leaders and managers can’t just order the troops to charge up that hill—they must inspire, coach, and otherwise support them in the effort. To do so, they need to build rapport and trust. They must empathize with, and communicate to, more diverse culture of followers, including people very different from themselves.
An HBR study on factors that make leadership effective finds that leaders who participated in the study are willing to forgo 39 percent of their compensation to work for a Quantum Leader or require 39 percent additional pay to tolerate working for a manager who does not demonstrate these competencies.
This 39% is distributed across the three major competency categories of safety, connection, and innovation. Survey respondents are willing to forgo the most pay to feel safe. They are willing to give up 22 percent of their compensation to work for a leader who provides safety; in other words, they demand an additional 22 percent to put up with working for a manager with whom they do not feel safe. This flies in the face of the “front stabbing” reported by the Wall Street Journal and the controversial management practices at Amazon as reported by the New York Times.
And how we define safety? It is an environment where our brain derives the sensory input as safe, which does not trigger our innate fear response.
Next, people are willing to forgo 12 percent of compensation for connection and belonging; in other words, they demand an additional 12 percent to put up with working for a manager who does not demonstrate these competencies.
Last, they are willing to forgo 5 percent of compensation for learning and growth; in other words, they demand an additional 5 percent to work for a manager without competencies to facilitate learning and innovation.
Of all the leadership competencies, building safety often becomes an insurmountable obstacle, which we easily ignore. How we build safety is by understanding heart intelligence.
Experimental evidence shows, (1) our hearts are electromagnetically connected with other human beings, life on earth, and the electromagnetic field of the earth. (2) Our hearts emit an electromagnetic field that can change our emotions and our hearts have the power to change the field of others who are emotionally connected with us. (3) We get empowered when we get connected via our hearts – which explains how we fall in love. Hearts’ magnetic field is 5000 times stronger than our brain magnetic field (EEG).
Let’s take a look at Quantum physics theory, the Zeeman effect that states that if we change the atom’s magnetic field, we change the atom. We can apply this theory to the people around us; we can change the people if we change their magnetic field. And how we change their magnetic field is by working on the waves that we emit.
Recent neuroscience research has revealed the mechanism of how this change in our brains takes place: in response to changes in the environment (including other people), histone proteins alter which part of the DNA becomes accessible to be read, turning gene expressions on or off. According to Siegel, there are four pathways for neuroplasticity to occur:
• We can grow new neurons (neurogenesis).
• We can grow new neuronal connections, which allows learning and information storage.
• We can speed up the neuronal processing time (myelination—adding a myelin layer along the neuron’s length).
• We can make existing connections stronger or weaker using feedback from the environment, which ultimately updates our memories with new content to change the meaning.
By deploying spiritual intelligence, we can too change our magnetic field. Sufism beautifully portrays the picture of heart intelligence and states that our heart is like a well and our senses as five tributaries that drain the well if we do not allow ourself to hear, see and taste evil, we do not drain the dirt in the well. Then our heart becomes as clear as a mirror which reflects what is pictured in the Tablet of Fate. All we need to do is to be mindful of our five senses. This way, we can capitalise on our hearts’ and minds’ full potentials, crucial to effective leadership.
When it comes to engagement and learning, we have a great predilection for prioritising learning and innovation over creating a safe environment, building trust, and take this grand crucial step for granted. We do not reflect on how we perceive and create the world around us, which is the bedrock of learning and innovation. We need to have a robust foundation of self-awareness if we want to lead. Our experience shows that we forget simple things like self-reflection and working on ourselves first before working on others in the corporate world and underinvest in the managers’ leadership development. Consequently leading to unsustained and rampant disengaged organisational culture.