Last week I commented on an important LinkedIn article from marketing and management executive, John White. White offered some great tips for business leaders—new and veteran. But his post’s last line, a quote from football legend Vince Lombardi, is maybe the most valuable:
"Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase it, we can catch excellence."
Just like sports teams, high-performing workplace teams require dedicated coaching. People need personalized mentorship to continue chasing their best work. From an employer perspective, building engaged, high-performance teams not only reduces absenteeism, employee turnover, and workplace accidents; it also increases productivity and profitability—by more than 20 percent.
Yes, you read that correctly. Management research shows engaged teams can create an exponential lift in profitability. Aon Hewitt, for example, found that in a $5B organization, a one percent improvement in engagement increased profitability by $20M. Five percent improvement resulted in gains of $102M profitability, and 10 percent improvement resulted in $204M profitability.
But employee engagement doesn’t happen by accident…or by formula. These kinds of results stem from engaged leadership, which an ongoing, individualized effort. In a society driven by checklists and automated processes, today’s managers must resist the pressures (created by limited time or limited experience) to manage via numeric review. Leaders must develop the skills necessary to inspire individual team members, recognize individual strengths and needs, while supporting each employee’s unique career goals.
White’s piece starts to answer the question of how? But there will never be a static, one-time answer to effective leadership. Instead, the best managers and supervisors will approach their role as a dynamic one—constantly looking for ways to improve and learn.
To that end, here are five great blogs from business leaders and educators. Add them to your weekly reading list or your Twitter feed today.1. Seth Godin
Seth Godin, former Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, is the man to follow for outside-the-box thinking on leadership and just about everything else. His blog offers a quick dose of genius, otherwise found in one of his 17 best-selling books. Godin is often pithy and profound. His recent post on origin stories helps to underscore the myth of formula-based success:
“You can't reverse engineer success by researching origin stories. You can't follow the same path as those you admire and expect you'll end up in the same place.”
You can, however, follow Seth Godin at @ThisIsSethsBlog2. Work Matters
Always conversational, Work Matters is a blog created by Stanford professor, Bob Sutton. In addition to leadership advice, Sutton offers an extensive list of recommended reading—including his own influential books. Take one to the beach this summer.3. Professor Michael Roberto’s Blog
Michael Roberto’s “musings on leadership” are perfectly bite-sized, with fascinating links and videos to round out your next lunch break. As a Bryant University professor and well-known blogger, Roberto is specifically interested in decision-making and teams. One of his recent posts about talent management and succession is an issue we’ve been following closely. You can read our paper on developing leadership pipelines for related statistics and strategies.4. The Management Blog
In the Management Blog, Businessweek compiles views from top thinkers on leadership trends and issues. You can sort post topics by how often they’re being read, shared, and discussed—an interesting comparison to make. And in fact, sometimes the reader comments are as thought-provoking as the content.5. Lead, via Inc.com
While not really a blog, Inc.’s leadership feed is chock full of fun, insightful reading. Get inspired by management writers like Peter Economy (@BizzWriter) and Bill Murphy Jr. (@BillMurphyJr). Even if the column at hand isn’t addressing your immediate leadership problems, the dose of daily reading will keep you sharp and provide some therapeutic distance from your inbox.
What are some of your favorite leadership blogs or resources? How have they helped you in developing high-performance teams?