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Leaders and Employees lack a common understanding: Potential Project

In its second edition of The Human Leader Study, Potential Project reveals that 55% of leaders are disconnected from their teams’ perceptions, an alarming data point in the face of the demands that the new hybrid workplaces are ready to make on their leaders.

Bengaluru, April 27: The second of the six editions of The Human Leader study, a bi-annual examination of the key characteristics that define a new paradigm of human-centric leadership, has new insights on the nature of leader-employee relationships and they are disconcerting, to say the least. Conducted by Potential Project, global research, leadership development, and consulting firm, the report titled Leaders are Alarmingly Out of Sync with Their Teams delves into the significant role leaders play in driving employee satisfaction and the effect indifference on their part can have on both employee and organisation health.

As millions resigned from their jobs due to burnout and dissatisfaction with their jobs last year, organisations questioned what was going wrong in their methodologies. Potential Project’s research, thus, comes at a time when leaders and employees alike are shifting their priorities and rethinking the way they engage with each other. Narrowing their hypotheses down to a deep desynchronisation between the two players, the firm sought to quantify the importance of being in sync. To do so, they asked both leaders and employees to rate leaders’ level of compassion, discovering some interesting results.

The firm created three main leader profiles – the Me Leader, the You Leader, the We Leader – out of which they found only one to deliver the best outcomes. Me Leaders overestimate how compassionate they are while the You Leaders underestimate themselves so. In both instances, an imbalanced self-perception is developed, creating a warped understanding of what their leadership entails and engendering a deep disconnect with their employees.

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The We Leader profile, on the other hand, strikes home. We leaders, the report reveals, lead to 11% higher job satisfaction, 10% higher organizational commitment and 10% lower burnout in employees (relative to the Me Leader group). The profile also has a significant impact on leaders themselves, where it leads to 15% lower burnout 6% lower intent to quit, and 12% higher leadership efficacy (relative to the You Leader group).

Leaders need to be much more honest when evaluating their strengths and intentional about checking in with their teams. When there is a shared and accurate understanding of a relationship, both sides experience positive outcomes.

Potential Project claims that both Me Leaders and You Leaders can get to the middle ground by respectively practising a taming of the ego, embracing their inner critic and putting themselves first. At the same time, all leaders can benefit from getting a shared reality check and responding to each moment by being present in it rather than by habit. These exercises, when practised with genuine intention and care, can lay the groundwork for a human world of work, ready to counter all challenges of our future workplaces.