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Transforming Leadership

Executive coaching for more authentic leaders and happier employees

Talent remains the number one issue facing our business community. Following The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting, organizations must continue to address significant challenges: acquiring and retaining talent, addressing employee burnout, and supporting their employees holistically.

While there are many factors that contribute to employee happiness, management is one that will always be on the list.

You’ve heard it before: people leave managers, not companies. One in two employees have left a job to get away from a manager and improve their overall life at some point in their career, according to Gallup’s State of the American Manager report.

So how can you ensure you are equipping your managers with the skills and confidence to lead effectively and maximize talent retention?

The Grand Rapids Chamber’s suite of leadership programs is designed to do just that.

Leadership Transformed: Executive Leadership Coaching was launched in 2023 and is led by facilitator Erin Fisk, LMSW. The program is rooted in strengthening the skills that already exist in our community’s senior leaders. Through the Enneagram assessment, wisdom from guest speakers and connection with peers, leaders will gain clarity of their intrinsic leadership.

“There are plenty of skills-based leadership programs out there. This program was unique in that it helped me identify my authentic leadership style,” said Megan Erskine, CEO of Catherine’s Health Center, and graduate of the inaugural cohort in Spring 2023. “As a leader, it is okay to be vulnerable and human. There is strength in leading with heart and authenticity.”

Today, vulnerability in leaders is welcomed and encouraged. Data shows that the top trait Gen Z workers value in leaders and managers is empathy and honesty, and Gen Z workers are more comfortable than their older counterparts in sharing about their emotional and mental health needs. Millennials are more likely to vocally share concerns about work/life balance, the challenges of caregiving, and mental health struggles than Gen X and Boomer workers.

Leaders who create space for vulnerability build work environments where people feel welcome to be themselves. When people are willing to be authentic at work, they’re also more willing to take creative risks, share perspectives and make valuable contributions without fear of consequence.

Authentic leaders don’t just discover and develop their team’s strengths – they use their own strengths to be relatable, genuine leaders who consistently help others learn and grow. Leaders who focus on their strengths see improvements in their performance and in that of their employees, including employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

 

When people apply their strengths, they are:

• 6x more likely to be engaged in their jobs
• 3x more likely to report having an excellent quality of life
• 6x more likely to strongly agree they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day

 

“It was very uplifting to watch fellow classmates identify their motivations, vulnerabilities, and boundaries,” Erskine said. “People left the program with a greater understanding of who they are and what kind of leaders they wanted to be.”

In addition to the skills and knowledge participants gain throughout the course, they also gain new perspectives and connections from their classmates.

“Leadership can be very lonely – it was wonderful to be around other leaders in a safe and trusted space,” Erskine continued. “There is so much value in interdisciplinary education and networking.”

For more information on Leadership Transformed and the Chamber’s full suite of leadership program offerings, visit grandrapids.org/leadership.

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