Last week all our articles focused on the role of leaders (senior, middle and first-line) in applying the newly developed South African leadership standard. Today we ask the question: How will it affect employees? The good news is that the correct application of the leadership standard will have a major impact on employees. Workers are the recipients of leadership behaviour, whether good or bad.
Another positive spin-off of the leadership standard is that leaders will be encouraged to learn from other leaders. This will not only accelerate their own development as leaders, but also create a situation in which they regularly reflect on their leadership to improve themselves. The standard also states that leaders must solicit feedback about their leadership. This means that employees will be able to provide feedback to their leaders on how they should improve as leaders. This implies a very strong sense of employee empowerment – employees telling their leaders how they should improve, i.e. performance appraisal in reverse!
This is the good news for leaders who have committed to the leadership standard and who are serious to improve their leadership. But there is also some bad news for bad leaders, or leaders who are simply not interested in the leadership standard: The bad news is that the leadership standard will be released on social media on 26 October, which means that employees will see it. The leadership standard will go viral in seconds. Leaders (and employees) will read it. Employees will go through it and consciously assess their leaders against it. There may be areas in the standard in which their leaders are performing well, but there may also be areas in which leaders are under-performing. For instance, some leaders may be great at vision, but poor in people skills Thus, the pressure will be on for leaders to step up and rise to the occasion in improving their leadership.
In conclusion, I am confident that all employees will welcome the leadership standard. The hard question is: Will leaders welcome the leadership standard? And if not, why not?
Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) and convenor of the South African #LeadershipStandard initiative. Comments about the project can be send to him on email@example.com