The Key to Effective Leadership


It is often quoted that the management of a business has a key impact on employee motivation and employee engagement in the workplace. As shown in the image above, and as discussed in many books on this topic, the role of a leader is a very important one in developing ’employee engagement’. ”No matter how you slice the data, in the big picture somewhere around 60% or 70% of employees are simply not working—  say it straight—  as hard as they could be. Let’s take some examples. Gallup data shows 30% of employees “engaged.” Towers Watson data shows 35% “highly engaged.” Dale Carnegie data shows 29% “fully engaged.” And these aren’t small studies; the Gallup survey includes more than 350,000 respondents and the Towers Watson survey includes more than 32,000. Gallup goes on to estimate an annual cost in lost U.S. productivity of more than $450 billion. (Forbes, 2015).

Although in education, and particularly within the International School sector, it can be argued that employee engagement does not directly affect in such monetary terms. However, in the long term, employee engagement will ultimately affect the students. As teachers, if we aren’t engaged or motivated to perform to the best of our abilities, the level of preparation, performance and dedication towards self-improvement and self-reflection will eventually reflect in student performance.

The ‘Boss v Leader’ situation is something that I have been working on this year, especially to balance between managing and bossing. As highlighted in the diagram above, the leader is part of the team, and shows how to get things done. But at times this year, I have felt that I feel that a leader has to be a boss, in order to meet deadlines, or to get things done efficiently.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

There is one more thing that I would add to this diagram, leaders reflect and are willing to change. Reflection allows change and development to take place. Effective leaders need to constantly reflect on their own leadership behaviour in order to understand how it affects the behaviour of others. I would add that self-reflection is one of the key factors in ensuring personal development as a leader, and within education in general.

Forbes, 2015 –