Is Your Leadership Style Supporting Employee Success?

simma lieberman.jpg

By Simma Lieberman

March 23, 2018

Republished with permission from Simma’s blog.

I hated my first job. It was selling aluminum siding over the telephone. I didn’t even know what it was, how much aluminum siding actually cost. I didn’t know who owned the company or what happened once a live person showed up at the house of the prospective buyer. But I was good at it.

Even with those factors, I was able to develop relationships with people on the phone and was the highest performer in the office. I got more appointments that led to more sales than anyone else and got the biggest commission checks.

But I hated that job, I was bored, the manager was just a timekeeper. She even timed our bathroom breaks, we couldn’t talk to each other, she listened in on our telephone calls and told us how incompetent we were. She yelled at us in public, and I only knew the name of one other person in the whole company.

One day I walked away, I could not take it anymore. No one ever even called to find out where I was, perhaps they didn’t even know that I was gone.

I had no relationship to the rest of the company or the people in it. Like a lot of other employees, all I did was do my job, and little else.

  • How many of your employees are saying, “I just did my job?”
  • How many have walked away and you’re still paying them?
  • How many employees have hidden genius that is going to waste because you’re not talking to them, asking how they would like to contribute or what they need to do their best job

As a leader, you have the power, influence and hopefully, the ability to create the kind of culture where people feel part of a community, can’t wait to get to work, and want to succeed.

By now, you and other leaders have heard about the research that Towers Perrin and Gallup did with 2,000,000 employees in 40 countries, in employee engagement.

They found that employees who are engaged in their workplace, are happy, and most productive. Duh!  The findings below are no surprise, but here is the proof.

  • in order to engage employees, they need to feel included

  • When employees are engaged they engage their customers, who in turn love to do business with your company.

  • Engaged employees tell their colleagues, friends, and families to buy your products and services.

The study also found that only 21% of employees are fully engaged, and 38% are partially engaged, which means 41% are not engaged at all. Some of these people may even be in your organization. You might have been one of those people in another job.

Think about the impact this has on customers and profit.

You can be like some employers who say, that’s just the way it is, or you can decide to take action, be an inclusive leader in practice and create an inclusive work culture where employees love to do their best work and customers love to do business.

Now more than ever leaders need to know how to leverage the visible and not so visible diversity of talents and skills in the organizations. Inclusive leaders must recognize and be able to understand the visible and invisible dimensions of diversity and how to leverage those dimensions, be able to articulate the impact of globalization, and how it has changed the way people do business. What worked ten years ago, may not work today, and what works today may not work next week.

Continuous innovation in technology makes it easier for your company and its products and services to be more visible, for the world to have access to you, and for you to be accessible to employees and customers across the world.

The world has become both smaller and bigger at the same time.

  • People know what other people are doing- they know about best practices and that there are new ways to work

  • Diversity leaders have to know how to communicate with people across religions, countries, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.

  • Everyone -- particularly those in the executive suite and those that lead departments and functions -- needs to be diversity leaders, and stop leaving it all up to human resources.

Inclusive leaders are able to uncover and leverage the different talents, skills, and experiences of their employees so that everyone has the opportunity to be successful and help the organization be to achieve its objectives.

Your success depends on your relationships with your employees and their relationship with your customers. Everyone’s success is predicated on the ability of your organization to engage its people, make them feel included and do their best work.

In order to lead today’s workforce, your organization may need a culture change, culture expansion, or culture adjustment.  All of that has to start at the top. It takes a combination of visionary leadership, engaged employees, and happy customers to stay ahead of your competition, and drive your culture to inclusion at every level.

Simma Lieberman is the Principal of The Inclusionist, a human resources practice of Simma Lieberman Associates ( She creates inclusive cultures where employees love to do their best work. She is based in Berkeley, California. She can be reached at