Greensboro, N.C. — March 28
Leaders with a high versatility index have employee teams with high job commitment and engagement, reports an industry-university collaborative study at North Carolina State University.
The research was conducted by Dr. Beth Coberly under the supervision of Dr. Denis Gray, psychology professor, to improve the hit rate of breakthrough innovations by faculty members who are involved in research for private business.
They sought the key workplace factors that promote the job satisfaction, commitment and engagement of highly creative knowledge workers.
The study included faculty from nearly thirty cooperative research centers from around the United States.
“We found that leaders who were flexible at adjusting their styles and behaviors to the leadership situation also had the most satisfied and committed research teams,” Gray said.
Rob Kaiser, a partner with the executive development consultancy, Kaplan DeVries Inc., which also supported the research, points out that the No. 1 motivator of commitment for the researchers in this study was personally meaningful work on compelling projects.
“This is not a surprising result, in itself,” he said. “But it does underscore the importance of matching creative people to the right job and playing to their natural interests and talents.
“What surprised us was that versatile leadership tied for second place with rewards as the next-most important factor. In other words, compensation is no substitute for weak leadership — managers who lack versatility and lead with an inflexible, 'my way or the highway' style are liable to alienate creative talent beyond a point that can be fixed by throwing money at them.”
The study employed a unique measure of leadership, the patented Leadership Versatility Index (LVI), which measures the extent to which leaders have a well-rounded style and vary their approach with the situation, as opposed to over-relying on one way of leading or another.