The 4 KPIs That Explain What Employees Really Think of Your Leadership — And How to Improve Them

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Fostering effective leadership is no easy feat. Balancing business needs with employees’ feelings is an ongoing challenge, but it’s worthwhile to pause every so often and reflect on how you’re doing.

By understanding your leadership team’s effectiveness, you’ll be better able to mentor new leaders and ultimately help cultivate a positive, productive office atmosphere.

While you can always solicit feedback from your employees, observing their behavior or responses in these situations could be a better indicator of how they’re really feeling. These are the metrics to watch in order to gauge your leadership’s performance — and how to work on areas for improvement.

Employee Retention

Is turnover high at your company? Does it feel like just as soon as you introduce someone new, you’re having a good-bye party for someone else? While there are a lot of factors that impact employee retention, leadership is often the biggest indicator. Without effective management in place, employees won’t have that incentive to stay at the company long-term.

There’s no quick fix, but there are ways to move the needle. Think about what makes a good leader, and make sure everyone on your leadership team fits the bill. Good leaders are transparent with their employees. They recognize and reward outstanding behavior, and they offer constructive feedback when contributors fall short. But managers shouldn’t micromanage; instead, they must empower their teams to take responsibility for their own duties. And most importantly, they should treat their teams like they’re people, which brings us to our second KPI…

Percent of Employees Who Say Their Manager Shows Empathy

Of all the qualities that good managers have, empathy might actually be the most important. No one wants to be treated like a worker drone and feel like an easily replaceable cog in a machine. People want to know that they’re being heard and understood, so an empathetic manager sets the stage for a strong relationship.

If this metric isn’t delivering the results you expected, it’s time to coach your leaders on how to build trust with their teams. Developing interpersonal skills like active listening and body language goes a long way towards making people feel appreciated. Remember, empathy isn’t just about being nice; it’s about being able to truly understand a situation from a different point of view and examine why someone might be feeling the way they do, even if you can’t personally relate to the situation. You don’t have to agree with everyone all the time, but making an effort to understand employees’ perspectives goes a long way towards making them feel appreciated.

Percent of Employees Who Say Their Manager is Effective at Communicating

Sure, your leadership team has a clear vision for success — but do your employees understand that bigger picture? Most people don’t want to feel like they’re simply collecting a paycheck; they want to contribute to something larger than themselves. Without clear communication from leadership about what they’re supposed to be accomplishing, some may feel like they’re just running up a hamster wheel rather than coming closer to achieving something extraordinary.

Improving this requires coaching your leaders on their communication skills. Have them regularly reiterate the company’s goals and provide clear direction on how to get there. Let employees on different teams know how their specific work contributes to the overall vision. Once everyone’s on the same page and working towards the same goal, employees become more motivated and productivity rises.

How Many Employees Say They Feel Respected By Co-Workers

This last KPI doesn’t directly involve leader-employee communication, but it’s still a critical piece of the leadership puzzle. The way employees talk to each other speaks to the kind of culture that leadership has fostered in the workplace. Do people feel like they’re part of a team, or is it every person for themselves? Do they feel respected in their roles or like they’re constantly coming under fire from colleagues?

If your office isn’t nurturing an environment of collaboration and respect, it’s time for your managers to start encouraging collaboration. Having teams who usually don’t interact work together can give each an idea of how the other operates and fits into the larger organization. Group people together in a way that lets each employee bring their individual strengths to the table while complementing everyone else’s talents.

Getting the most out of your leadership team isn’t always easy, but the results are always worth it. For more ways to help your managers meet their goals and create a high-performance culture, contact the leadership coaching experts at Sounding Board.

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Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

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Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

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