Leadership skills for improving employee engagement during in pandemic times
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Zachodniopomorski Uniwersytet Technologiczny w Szczecinie
Online publication date: 2023-06-27
Publication date: 2023-06-27
NSZ 2023;18(2):47-62
The concept of employee engagement and the research on engagement has emerged as one of the most frequently discussed issues both in academic studies and in the practice of human resource management. One of the crucial dimensions of employee engagement is leadership directly linked to the leader’s behaviours creating increased motivation and performance. The aim of this article is to identify and characterise the leader’s skills that provide high levels of engagement in crisis periods. Its most essential core is to build the author’s model of key leadership skills influencing employee engagement during a pandemic. It was designed based on comparisons of employee engagement models, including the 5Cs model considering the pandemic period, as well as reports from research institutions on the challenges employees faced when working under these specific conditions. The model is composed of four dimensions of a leader’s skills that are crucial to have during a pandemic such as work-life balance, communication and knowledge transfer, collaboration and motivation. The research used literature analysis and logical construction methods to explore multidimensional models of employee engagement with a focus on leadership. In addition, secondary data analysis from a variety of sources was used. The combination of these provided a new, holistic approach to multidimensionally construct employee engagement during a pandemic time using specific leadership skills. The results of the research showed that a particular skill that leaders need to have during the pandemic is communication, which is also the basis for the following skill dimensions. It has been shown that specific skills are required in this dimension, as leaders must learn to communicate their own emotions, private opinions and give employees access to part of their private life. It is also important to share failures, problems and applied solutions to support one’s own physical and mental wellbeing. An important skill for a leader during a pandemic is to create a feeling of security by permanently sharing information about the future of employees in both the short and long term. This should be done together with a flexible approach to a work organisation that is not suitable for the pandemic period and the introduction of changes that ensure a high degree of autonomy for employees in their role. The proposed model of a leader’s skills building employee engagement during a pandemic can provide a starting point for further research into the skills of leaders to manage teams in crisis situations. The research performed can be applied to the practice of managing organisation, as it makes one realise how many drivers increase the level of employee engagement and how they are complex. The results of the research make one aware of the direction of developing leader’s skills with a special focus on communication based on empathy, fairness, authenticity and trust.
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