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Leading from the front: Being a visible boss to boost engagement

In a period of economic uncertainty, the temptation for business leaders to adopt a bunker mentality is ever present. But maintaining a fresh and visible presence should always remain a priority, even when there's pressure on bosses to divert their energies away from the important role they have as workplace leaders.

It's never been more important for leaders to stay positively connected with their employees. In the wake of media furore over 'unethical' and 'corrosive' leadership behaviour in recent months, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed that only a third of staff trust their senior managers.

The 2009 MacLeod report Engaging for success: Enhancing performance through employee engagement, documented that productivity, morale, wellbeing and company loyalty all take a major knock when workforces feel disengaged from management.

Conversely, recent research carried out in the hospitality industry by People 1st Training Company and the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM) suggests that nearly a third of its employees think that their company performs better when the leader is visible. More than a quarter feel positively about both their work and employer if they see or hear from their boss.

The huge opportunities afforded by social media and online channels provide an easy and effective way for leaders to have workplace visibility with a light touch. Evidence suggests that younger workers particularly respond to social media use, yet fewer than a fifth (17.4%) of employees in a recent survey conducted by recruitment company Hyphen were aware of any attempts by their organisation to use social media to reach out to them directly.

Acas provides a wide range of courses on skills for supervisors, including those dealing with communication, visibility and motivation.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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