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Productivity Insight: 5 reasons why leadership matters in terms of productivity

Productivity Insight: 5 reasons why leadership matters in terms of productivity

How do you measure ‘Productivity’ in the practice of Leadership and Management? 

Productivity is often measured in terms of rate of output compared to input, but how can we measure true productivity when roles are more than simply what they produce? Of course, there are many ways to measure productivity from leadership and management, however, for most businesses this is not something they currently measure, or have the infrastructure to measure. We help businesses to build this infrastructure, using lead and lag measures; what we are trying to achieve (goals and strategy) and how we will know this is achievable (the how we do and how we measure success).  

Our experience working with diverse organisations across the world has evidenced the impact leaders have on organisational culture and how this in turn plays a huge role in how productive that organisation is. Our work has also shown us that a leader’s individual productivity does not translate into always being “on.”  

Productivity, in terms of management and leadership, means not always working in the business but on the business. It is not their job to always be doing, it is about knowing themselves and their teams and being at their best.  

For a manager it may be: 

  • Reflective time that will contribute towards that great project meeting tomorrow.  
  • Reading a book to research innovative new thinking (with a coffee), will build even stronger leadership behaviours for our teams.  
  • Having a ‘longer than planned’ chat with a colleague and unexpectedly solving a problem or issue you had. 

For a leader it may be: 

  • Protecting time to focus solely on the business strategy and growth plans. Do not disturb on all communications, even for a couple of hours. 
  • Talking to other business leaders. Sharing what is going on for you and things you have in common to help with challenges and decision making.  
  • Spending time with your people, learning what is going on with them and what they need from you. 

The better our leaders and managers, the more productive an organisation  will be.  

The role of the leader is to create and positively influence the great workplace culture that drives productivity in terms of people. Leadership matters in terms of productivity because: 

  1. Strategic Leadership has a significant impact on employee engagement. 
    The more engaged your people are, the more they will want to contribute and do great work therefore increasing productivity. 
  2. It gives clarity and guidance to people. 
    They know what decisions need to be made by leaders and are empowered to make decisions on their own.
  3. A strategic leader challenges.
    They ask, ‘Is there a better way? Why do we do it this way?’ Put simply, they ask ‘why?’ They do not do change for changes sake, but to naturally look for opportunities to do things better, resulting in increased productivity. This helps build greater trust as a by-product; the foundation of team success factors.  
  4. Strategic leaders think about the future and potential challenges, or threats.  They are proactive rather than reactive and consider all things that could impact or hinder productivity. This is not only in terms of outputs and results. They think about their people, their wellness and being at their best. They ask, ‘Is there a risk of burnout during peak busy periods and what can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen?’ 
  5. A strategic leader defines the culture in an organisation. 
    Leaders help their people by connecting them to their purpose, their contribution, and each other i.e., creating great working relationships.  

Remember, the productivity and success that leaders seek will only be achieved through the people at the centre of it. If a business operates with poor leadership and a toxic culture, this is not sustainable. This will not contribute to productivity across the business including team, community, organisation or personal.  

When we measure productivity for leadership and management practices, we need to consider more than just traditional productivity and output measures and make sure we measure more intangible, qualitative KPIs as well to really understand how productive a leader is.

3 top tips: 

  • Focus on yourself – what can you do to impact productivity? 
  • Focus on your people – how can you lead by example? 
  • Focus on the wider world – be curious and question is your strategy the right one? 


Written by Barbara Clark, Explorer at Connect Three, with 20 years’ experience in leadership, management, and coaching. Barbara thrives on working with organisations, helping to support them to achieve their growth through people being at their best. 

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