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Article -> Leaders are Key Predictor in Employee Performance

Date Added: April 2005

As organizations continue to grow, change, and do more with less; it becomes ever important for employees to perform at high levels. Engaged employees are known to be more productive, and leaders play a key role in engaging employees.

The best way for leaders to engage employees and increase performance levels is through one-on-one communication.1 Employees favor face-to-face communication from their leader, rather than via the intranet, employee newsletters or other employee communication venues.

With downsizing, travel, and everyone being extremely busy, it is difficult for a leader to find the time for one-on-one communication. While time is precious, spending time on communication will actually save time in the long run.

We know that engaged employees are more productive. And we know that productive employees perform at higher levels. Employees that perform at higher levels generate more revenue and/or lower overall costs for an organization.

Based on this, the 30-60 minutes a leader may spend each week with employees on face-to-face communication - assuming the leader is effectively communicating - may actually generate more time for the leader because the employees are worker harder and smarter. The conclusion is that leader communication directly links with employee productivity.

Still not a believer? Here's another statistic... Companies with the highest levels of effective communication experienced a 26% total return to shareholders compared to a (negative) -15% return for companies that communicate least effectively.2

Employees want a leader that1 :

  • Provides feedback on performance regularly
  • Is helpful when the employee requires assistance and/or solving problems
  • Communicates well on a 1-to-1 basis
  • Is accessible
  • Communicates about matters that effect "my" job
  • Is willing to speak with their leader about "bad news"

Leader communication must be accompanied with other aspects of communication such as the intranet, emails from leader, or print employee newsletter. Done effectively, today's managers become tomorrow's leaders. While they are developing their own skills, they are engaging employees, developing employees' skills, and helping increase employee productivity.

A key component of leadership development involves communication. Effectively determining customized employee/leader training and development plans form a foundation for adding value to your bottom line through increased employee engagement and performance. Specific processes and seminars will help.

1 Whitworth, Brad and Betsy Riccomini. "Management Communication: Unlocking Higher Employee Performance." Communication World: March-April 2005, pages 18-22.
2 Watson Wyatt. "Connecting Organizational Communication to Financial Performance - 2003/2004 Communication ROI Study."

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