The New Tech 2013 Report (download below) highlights a number of factors that influence employee engagement in the New Tech sector. One of the clear headline items is leadership.
It’s important to look at "leadership" broadly. Leadership is more than just setting direction. Leadership is a combination of numerous factors, hard and soft skills - analysis, communication, motivation and involvement to name a few.
There is little value in a perfect strategy if it’s not communicated adequately. Your message might not be getting heard. It might be being miscommunicated. Or worse, it might be inconsistent. Sometimes it’s a matter of showing your people that they are valued, showing that they are part of the vision.
A challenge in People Intelligence surveys is asking the right questions and setting the right context on leadership. For example, does "leadership" mean the top-level executive or your middle management? In our Culture Amp surveys we tend to opt for the former as the context and interpretation is clearer.
Even in organizations with low overall engagement it's not uncommon for employees to have a high opinion of their direct managers. This could be because of many factors, such as a "we’re in the trenches together" attitude. If you wish to drill into management, you may already have data you can leverage, such as 360 degree assessments. We also see utility in purpose-built surveys on Manager Effectiveness.
How do you measure leadership? The first point is to just ask. However, getting into the detail is less obvious. Understanding leadership is rarely a top-down exercise.
We recommend a broader diagnostic if you’re conducting an initial survey. This diagnostic touches on numerous items, including leadership directly. However, it also includes items on subjects such as communication, systems and processes, and learning and development. As your surveying gets more sophisticated you may drill into focus areas, but initially we start with a broad range of subjects.
Even if they aren’t headline engagement items for your organization, these broader concepts and questions provide a reflection on your culture and leadership. Poor results on communication may mean your message isn’t getting carried to your employees. Poor results on learning and development may reflect a feeling that the organization doesn’t value or invest in it’s people.
So, where you work - Do your employees have confidence in your leaders?