What is PF3: Clear Leadership & Expectations?
Guarding Minds at Work defines PF3: Clear Leadership & Expectations as present in a work environment where there is effective leadership and support that helps employees know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impending changes. There are many types of leadership, each of which impacts psychosocial health and safety in different ways. The most widely accepted categorizations of leadership are instrumental, transactional and transformational. Of these, transformational leadership is considered the most powerful. Instrumental leadership focuses primarily on producing outcomes, with little attention paid to the 'big picture', the psychosocial dynamics within the organization, and, unfortunately, the individual employees. Transformational leaders are seen as change agents who motivate their followers to do more than what is expected. They are concerned with long-term objectives and transmit a sense of mission, vision and purpose. They have charisma, give individualized consideration to their employees, stimulate intellectual capabilities in others, and inspire employees.
Why is Clear Leadership & Expectations important?
Leadership is the foundation of a health pyramid (see below)1.
Effective leadership increases employee morale, resiliency and trust, and decreases employee frustration and conflict. Good leadership leads to individuals being 40% more likely to be in the highest category of job well-being, a 27% reduction of sick leave, and a 46% reduction in early retirements with disability pensions. A leader who demonstrates a commitment to maintaining his or her own physical and psychological health can influence the health of employees (sickness, presenteeism, absenteeism), as well as the health of the organization as a whole (vigour, vitality, productivity).
What happens when clear leadership and expectations are lacking in the workplace?
Leaders who are more instrumental in their approach (rather than transformational) are more likely to find staff health complaints including general feelings of malaise, irritability and nervousness. Similarly, leaders who do not demonstrate visible concern for their own physical and psychological health set a negative example for their staff and can undermine the legitimacy of any organizational program, policy and/or service intended to support employees. Middle managers are at greater risk due to the fact that they must be leaders and be led simultaneously. This role conflict can lead to feelings of powerlessness and stress.
How can Clear Leadership & Expectations be improved?
Start by conducting the Organizational Review and/or the Survey and reviewing the results. If Clear Leadership & Expectations is identified as an area of concern or relative strength, refer to the Action Resources for a practical strategy and evidence-based and effective suggested actions that can improve Clear Leadership & Expectations. It is also important to discuss the findings with employees to gain a further understanding of the results and to obtain input into possible interventions. Furthermore, it is important to evaluate the undertaken interventions over time to ensure they are effective and to take corrective action where needed. Consider reviewing the resources below. Finally, refer back to the Guarding Minds at Work website on occasion for new ideas about how Clear Leadership & Expectations can be enhanced.