Most leaders still use the Newtonian model of cause and effect as a leadership style. In other words, this is the building that needs painting, now go paint it. The concept of this model has been around since 16th Century – does it provide the results you want in the 21st Century?
Leaders are not hardwired with the Newtonian cause and effect model; it is not the only option and it certainly is not the most “employee friendly” option. Nor is it conducive to building a flow of engagement, productivity and loyalty. With the advent of the Internet and social media, the Newtonian model died yet few have noticed or changed their leadership style.
Breaking the Newtonian Habit
As the saying goes, “old habits die hard” — unless you desire to change. And have something to replace them with such as a plan with new tools – a plan that is born out of innovation and generates sustainability. It’s time to change your thinking from the Newtonian cause and effect boxes to an orbital flow of information, thinking, communication and connection with others. It is this orbital flow of focus or energy that helps you shift from the old to the new.
When you are in the cause box and the employees are in the effect box it is much harder to work as a unified team with a shared vision. Once you remove the boxes, there is a natural flow to the focus and energy of everyone involved, including leadership.
The Orbital Plan for Innovation and Sustainability
The orbital plan no longer relies on external thoughts and things that are and have been set in place for centuries but rather changing internally first so the vision or plan resides in both the heart of the leader and the workforce simultaneously. You are no longer dealing with cause and effect but instead creating the effect you desire through engaging others. What employees want the most besides their income is connection; being communicated with and appreciated. Under this new set of habits your vision will reside in their hearts and become their objective as well.
Deliberately create an engaging environment. Why is it that some days your productive flow really works – you’re in the zone – and on other days it doesn’t? It’s about the way the flow happens; your environment either enhances what you are doing or throws up obstacles. The workplace environment changes the productivity and the people in it. You can engineer your environment to be more productive, to be more focused. The flow of the environment, meaning the physical space, focus or energy, determines how people feel when working in their specific environment. Your space affects your mood – it also affects your attention and that of your employees. Get in control of your workplace environment:
- Clean it, de-clutter it and remove distractions – efficiency will increase
- Paint walls a user-friendly color – attention will improve
- Communicate using their methods, such as internal messaging, internal Facebook and social media sites – engagement will increase
Purposefully de-compartmentalize your time. There is also a natural flow to time and the way you spend it — either on things you want to accomplish or things you want your workforce to accomplish – cause and effect thinking. When you realize that everything and everyone is connected within the workplace environment, you also realize that time can no longer be compartmentalized. Learn to do the important not the urgent. Part of the important is to connect regularly with your workforce. Recognize their contribution to the betterment of the company and acknowledge the role they play in making the business more successful.
As you evaluate your time commitments, it will become obvious that an important part of a leader’s schedule needs to be spent face to face with the workforce. If that is impossible due to distance, use an in-house YouTube or Skype type of communication link and use it often. Equally important, develop a plan so the workforce can communicate directly with you to get priceless feedback. That provides an orbital time and communications link. You can’t be everywhere physically but you can be anywhere at a moment’s notice via their favorite form of communications – social media.
Consciously plan for innovation and sustainability. When you remove the barriers of cause and effect, you are free to create the future you want; innovate new products and services, find solutions to problems and have your leadership vision held in the hearts of the employees. This is where long-term sustainability is born. Develop innovation and sustainability methods by:
- Being inclusive of all levels of the organization in the innovating process
- Regularly ask for feedback
- Recognize accomplishments at every level
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
Create the effect you want by being “employee friendly.” Nothing in a workplace happens in a vacuum and the more appreciated and valued the employee feels, the more engaged they feel and the more your business will thrive. Nothing is disconnected if a business is to succeed. This new leadership model is not just what you do – it is also about how you set up the work environment to help the workforce be more focused and driven to succeed.
© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2014
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She creates environments that engage and focus your workforce. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage, Unleash the Power of Focus and published books, Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It and Selling Your Home with a Competitive Edge, and can be reached at 561-408-2708 or www.engagetolead.com.