Traditional business leadership models only pay lip service to managing the social context of the business. In doing so, today’s business leaders may be missing a golden opportunity to ‘future fit’ their companies. There is a chance to leverage technologies to create workplaces that meet the social needs of employees. This focus on wellbeing encourages staff to thrive in the workplace.
New Ways of Thinking Will Propel Business Into the Future
Many recognise that today’s mainstream business models are out of sync with technology innovations. These disruptors have dissolved corporate walls and knitted suppliers and consumers into a sharing economy. Just think of platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, or Crowdfunding.
Old ways of thinking and doing are sabotaging the business success of many companies. There is a new ethical leadership model required that will be vastly different from those gone before. A huge change is needed to access and leverage employee discretionary effort. Specifically, the new model must put employees first, and output is a by-product of their engagement levels.
Despite annual employee engagement surveys, leaders hold back from actively designing their culture. Too often, companies don’t put their values into practice, and cultures remain flawed through lack of consistency.
The New Ethical Leadership Model
The new ethical leadership model involves three specific activities:
- Identify the social purpose of the business beyond shareholder needs. This way, employees can feel good about the enterprises they work for. They can also find their place in the larger picture of how business can be a force for social good.
- Purposely design a culture where you eliminate known risks. Forearm and forward employees of the ethical challenges they will inevitably face.
- Hold leaders accountable to ensure their employees are fully engaged. To date, this has been a critical leadership skill that has gone unmeasured. Gallup revealed in 2013 that this failure has meant that only 13% of the global workforce is engaged at work. That’s because the cultures they work in do not meet their social needs. Since it is now known what motivates employees, ethical leaders need to leverage this. They must design a culture that enables employees to contribute their skills and collaborate.
Thankfully, ethical leadership is very different from leadership as usual. Leaders may fail to step up to the new ethical leadership model. If that happens, you can expect new employees to continue to vote with their feet and leave their employers promptly in search of more fulfilling work.
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