Today we dispatched the most recent edition of our Leadership That Works Newsletter, a curated digest of the most engrossing leadership links to read right now, sent at or near the end of each month. In this month’s edition: micromanaging is making workers sick, be more persuasive, give better feedback, and more. As always, we’re sharing the articles from our newsletter here in case you’re not subscribed to our mailing list. If you like what you see, you can sign up to receive our newsletter here.
Most of us are aware of the power of intense focus. It helps us accomplish tasks and move things forward. But this interesting Time article celebrates the importance of being idle and unfocused. Turns out, “while focusing makes us more productive, unfocusing makes us more creative.” Studies show our best creative insights come when our minds are at rest — like when we’re taking a leisurely stroll or sipping our morning cup of joe. Interestingly, there are 3 reasons epiphanies often strike when our minds are idle and you can explore them all here.
The percentage of engaged workers is at its highest level since Gallup began measuring this metric in 2000. Although, “the percentage of engaged U.S. workers is still quite low, the 6-percentage-point improvement in the trend over the past decade represents approximately 8 million more workers who are engaged.” Why is it important for leaders to understand and pay attention to employee engagement? Because engaged employees are inextricably linked to enterprise success. According to this Gallup article, “organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors.” Gallup has discovered 4 crucial trends that have contributed to the rise in employee engagement and you can learn about them in the full post here.
**Want more on this topic? Read our post on the 4 human needs you must meet to engage employees, check out our post on listening like a leader, and explore our leadership words to live by.
More leaders today are aware of the need to increase employees’ health and well-being. To do this, they must increasingly understand the importance of “job control and social support” says organizational behavior expert, Jeffrey Pfeffer, in this comprehensive McKinsey article. “Studies going back decades have shown that job control—the amount of discretion employees have to determine what they do and how they do it—has a major impact on their physical health.” Research indicates the less empowered employees feel, the more dangerous the effects on their health. What’s more, “limited job control has ill effects that extend beyond the physical, imposing a burden on employees’ mental health, too.” The best way to stave off these maladies is to create roles with more autonomy and erect “barriers to micromanagement.” Dig into the full argument, and supporting research, here.
The ability to give effective, actionable feedback is at the heart of leadership that works. But it can be challenging to strike the right tone and deliver the message in a way that advances the agenda. In this helpful and hyper specific Officevibe post, they cover 10 real-world instances where feedback is necessary and provide a detailed how-to on what to say. Of course, you’ll probably want to customize their examples to fit your own personality and leadership style. But these 10 examples can serve as an extremely helpful starting point for your next feedback conversation.
**For more on feedback, read our post on why leaders can’t give feedback only to their direct reports.
There is a tendency among high achievers to worship at the altar of “busy-ness.” Many of today’s leaders feel a pressure to fill their every waking moment — but then lament that they are overwhelmed and hard-pressed to find “free” time. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can reclaim your life says time management and productivity expert, Laura Vanderkam, in this Fast Company post. Vanderkam has learned that, “much of how busy we feel comes from how we think about our time, and what we choose to focus on and remember.” Where do you start if you want to battle overwhelm and feel less busy? Vanderkam offers plenty of tactics and tips in the short podcast found here.
Do you have a big work presentation on the horizon? If you don’t currently, it’s likely you will be charged with persuading a group of people using data and story at some point in the future. It’s important — not only to prepare — but to prepare in the right way, says this helpful KelloggInsight post. There are 4 key steps you can take to ensure your message resonates, is persuasive, and helps you reach your goals. One of the most important? “Keep your language simple and relatable.” You may be tempted to fill your speech with jargon and big words to demonstrate how smart you are, but it will likely backfire. In fact, the smaller your words, the more credible your messaging. Explore all 4 key preparation steps here.
“A company simply cannot claim to value people if it does not put keeping them safe at the forefront” writes our Founder, Doug Conant, in this thoughtful Harvard Business Review post. Reflecting on his time as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, Doug shares the story of how one exemplary leader, David White, reduced the injury rate there by 90%. How did this intrepid leader do it? He was both tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people. Enjoy the full story here.
Ready to take your leadership to the next level? For an immersive and transformational leadership experience, apply to attend one of our upcoming leadership Boot Camps, taught personally by our Founder, Doug Conant, the only former Fortune 500 CEO who is a NYT bestselling author, a Top 50 Leadership Innovator, a Top 100 Leadership Speaker, and a Top 100 Most Influential Author in the World.