The Future of Leadership: Compassionate Accountability®
Surprise, surprise! Research on employee engagement and retention reveals that Millennials and Gen Z want and need different things than their predecessors. This has become even more obvious during the pandemic. The Great Resignation is proving that employees will even leave a well-paying job to find the things they value. Where does this leave the future of leadership?
One of the best summaries of the current research that I have seen is contained in Mark C. Crowley’s book, Lead From The Heart. Here’s what Mark has discovered about the future of leadership:
Five Trends Driving Employee Engagement and Retention
- Employees want to know their work has purpose.
- They don’t want a boss, they want a coach.
- They want much more frequent feedback.
- They want to focus on their strengths.
- They want investment in their growth and development.
I’ve been working on my upcoming book, Compassionate Accountability: How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results, and was struck by how well these trends are captured in our model of the Three Switches of The Compassion Mindset® described in my book. Here’s a short overview.
Three Switches of The Compassion Mindset
People are Valuable
Turning on the VALUE switch involves this fundamental belief: People are unconditionally valuable.
What does this mean? Employees want to be valued for who they are as a person, no strings attached. This applies especially to our unique experiences, perspectives and emotions.
People are Capable
Turning on the CAPABILITY switch involves this fundamental belief: Anyone can be part of the solution.
What does this mean? Employees want their unique qualities, skills and experiences to be affirmed and be given the opportunity to contribute, learn, and grow in a collaborative environment.
People are Responsible
Turning on the RESPONSIBILITY switch involves this fundamental belief: People are responsible for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
What does this mean? Employees are responsible for their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, not those of others. Regardless of what happened before, we are each 100% responsible for what we do next. No more, no less. Employees want clarity around responsibilities, purpose, and expectations.
When the switches are on, energy flows in a positive direction to foster cultures of connection, innovation and engagement. When the switches are off, energy is blocked to create toxic cultures of disconnection, division and distress. The Future of Leadership is: on.
All three of the Compassion Mindset switches are necessary, but not sufficient, for Compassionate Accountability to manifest in your culture, especially if your goal is to engage and retain current and future generations of employees. All three must be on in order for energy to flow and for Compassionate Accountability to be fully realized. Each switch paves the way and supports the others. The future of leadership is about being the conductor, allowing energy to flow from the switches to the employees.
Mark distills the current research into this table, outlining how a leader’s focus has to change from the past in order to lead in the future. I’ve added a column connecting each of the three switches of The Compassion Mindset – Value, Capability, Responsibility – to Mark’s categories of leadership focus. You might see even more connections than I did.
Changes in Leadership, Past and Future
Compassion Mindset Switch
|My paycheck||My purpose||Value, Responsibility|
|My satisfaction||My development||Capability, Responsibility|
|My boss||My coach||Value, Capability|
|My annual review||My ongoing conversations||Capability, Responsibility|
|My weaknesses||My strengths||Value, Capability|
|My job||My life||Value|
Table republished with permission from Mark C. Crowley.
Notice how future of leadership involve all three switches of The Compassion Mindset in equal measure.
The future of leadership is now, If you are looking for ways to attract and retain top talent, turn on and keep on the your switches.