Guest post by Joe Folkman
Have you ever been part of an organization where things were proceeding smoothly, where goals were achieved, people were busy and the organization was doing well? Then, a new leader came and everything suddenly changed for the better. The energy level of employees went up substantially, pride in the organization increased, the effort and dedication of individuals jumped, bold objectives were enthusiastically accepted and even greater results were achieved. The differences were not only measurable by the accountants, but everyone could feel it.
Perhaps you had the opposite experience where things were things were going along smoothly and a new leader was introduced and things quickly began to fall apart. High performers quit, conflicts became more apparent, work seemed much less important and there was no fun. Colleagues skulked into corners, not wanting to be engaged. Overall satisfaction decreased. Grousing and carping criticism of the leaders became rampant. People receiving promotions were chosen because of politics, not performance. Management decisions felt arbitrary and unfair. Results began to slide, and employees became the cause of the problems as much as the economy or market conditions. Key employees were laid off while the remaining people were asked to carry a bigger load. Results continued to decline, and your job felt increasingly harder and you found yourself beginning to think about quitting.
Those who have experienced great leadership or poor leadership have felt the difference. Could these changes have been predicted? Are there clear correlations between the effectiveness of a leader and the success of an organization?
Case Study on the Impact of Leadership on Customer Satisfaction
A large telecommunication company was focused on an effort to improve customer satisfaction ratings. The company wanted to know which factors impacted the customer satisfaction. A group of 81 leaders received 360 feedback from their immediate managers, peers, direct reports and others. The leadership effectiveness of each manager was evaluated by a 49 item assessment. Based on the overall rating from the 49 items, managers were divided into five groups, from leaders at the bottom 10th percentile (the worst leaders) to those at the top 10% (the best leaders).
First the satisfaction of sales representatives was measured. Data showed the worst leaders led sales representatives at the 29th percentile while the best leaders had their team at the 81st percentile.
The next measure was intention of sales representatives to quit the company. Having a sale representative quit had a significant impact of the satisfaction of customers. New sales representatives did not understand the customer needs or their requirements. Once again, the effectiveness a leader showed a substantial trend with the best leaders only having 12% or their sales representatives that thought about quitting, while the worst leaders had 45%.
Finally, customer satisfaction was measured. The worst leaders had customer satisfaction ratings at the 36th percentile while the best leader’s customers were at the 60th percentile.
|Leadership Effectiveness Rating||Bottom 10 Percentile||11th – 35th||36th – 65th||66th – 90th||Top 10 Percentile|
Intention to Leave the organization
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
It was concluded that overall customer satisfaction was strongly influenced by two intervening component factors:
- Employee engagement/satisfaction
- Employee retention
Leaders do make a significant influence in organizations. Organizations that can select, train, and develop great leaders will have a competitive advantage over their competition.
Joe Folkman is the co-founder and President of Zenger Folkman, a leadership development firm focused on building strengths of individuals, teams, and organizations. Joe is a co-author of the recent Harvard Business Review article “Making Yourself Indispensable.” To learn more leadership tips from Joe, subscribe to his leadership blog or follow him on Twitter: @zengerfolkman.