Employee Leadership: Why Don’t We Get the Best Out of Employees?

Employee Leadership: Why Don’t We Get the Best Out of Employees?

Why don’t we get the best out of employees?

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become task-oriented workers, rather than creative thinkers in a knowledge-based economy. Robinson led the British government’s advisory committee on creative and cultural education and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, looks at human creativity and education. 

In his widely-viewed TED talk, Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He believes a radical rethink of our school systems is needed to cultivate creativity and to acknowledge and leverage multiple types of intelligence. Most of all, Robinson says, we need to be willing to let children make mistakes.

His advice can be applied to small business employees as well.

As Robinson points out, children are not afraid to make mistakes, but as adults, we learn to fear being wrong. The problem is that this fear impacts our creativity. We’ll hesitate before suggesting a new idea or pull ourselves back instead of coming up with the bravest solution.

When we surveyed business owners about leadership qualities, we found that 90% of respondents identified Pursue Opportunities as one of the primary roles of a business leader, while only 10% selected Manage Risk. And three-quarters of respondents rated themselves a 6 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “the most risk-taking person.”

The willingness to take risks and make mistakes isn’t just an important quality for business leaders. As a business owner, you should encourage your employees to stretch their abilities and let them know it is OK to make a mistake. In fact, if they aren’t making the occasional mistake, they are probably not pushing the envelope enough.

You can see Robinson’s TED talk here.

There are many different leadership styles, but one that’s become increasingly popular is “Servant Leadership.” Learn more about this particular style in our Business Owner Success Series webinar.

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