Monday, February 12, 2007

The Alpha Employees

These individuals form part of a wider trend in executive heroics – long work hours and an exaggerated executive focus on achievement. It is a trend from which business has benefited with productivity and innovation on the rise. It would be wrong to assume that these individuals are slaves to the corporate world, stressed, burnt out, missing their neglected lives, families, sleep. They see themselves as “winners,” “achievers” bent on building businesses, empires and economies even.

Sounds familiar? Do you feel you have such members in your team as well.Hay group studies identifies them the Alpha leaders who are often bold, self confident, occupying leadership positions.

For them achievement or “results” is a prime motivation, but so is being in charge – these people will willingly shoulder levels of responsibility, that are daunting to most. It is for these reasons that they are often called “alpha leaders.”

These alpha leaders are not necessarily to be found at top leadership positions. Many of these alpha types are young, single and independent employees in the age group of 21-28 .Most of them come from small cities ,with their families back home and little social life in these urban jungles, they find solace and find their identity in the work they do.

Some of them are not able to relate to the new culture and lifestyles of different culture. These alpha types’ employees are growing at a much faster pace than you could ever imagine. They spend more and more time at workplace and even weekends in office. They are constantly worried about targets, assignment deadlines and often end up talking about work and colleagues at social gathering. They have little social life and very little to talk about expect work.

So are these neo alpha types good for organizations workforce. Not really,infact it may be a matter of concern for most organisations.Here’s what research studies says:

A persistent focus on tasks and goals can damage performance. Overachievers can be overly prescriptive in their behavior, coercing people rather than coaching them and collaborating. This has the effect of stifling initiative and motivation. Notorious alpha leader behavior includes taking short cuts and forgetting to communicate crucial information as well as asking questions and then answering them. These managers often either ignore, or are oblivious to the needs of those they work with.

Organizations, knowingly or otherwise, can be complicit in creating a culture which fosters alpha behavior. They sometimes reward what the Harvard Business Review calls “the achievement-at all-costs-mentality.” Understandably, they will recruit high achievers and, as long as they deliver good numbers, cast a blind eye. The best executives take a balanced approach, managing their achievement drive while leading through influence, collaboration and coaching.

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