In this blog series written by Great Game™ employees, we will highlight some of the highest rated sessions at the 2018 Gathering of Games conference. Account manager Dan Heisler covers the session "Begin with the Right Leadership: The Essentials of Leadership in a Great Game Company" led by certified Great Game Coach Kevin Walter.
Based on his years working with Great Game companies, Kevin defines what it takes to become an effective leader in a Great Game and open-book environment. Here, he highlights the difference between traditional leadership styles and the most effective approach for Great Game companies, emphasizing the impact of having the right leadership in an organization.
Knowing how to be a true leader (as opposed to a boss) has always been an interesting topic for me. This is one characteristic I have always paid attention to in all of my bosses in the past, and not many of them fell into the "leader" category. It wasn’t until I began working for SRC that I noticed a different feel to the leadership within the business. It wasn’t just the fact that my supervisor used the word “we” instead of “you.” There was something more.
After watching Kevin Walter, it was very clear why I felt so at home when I began working for SRC. Step one in implementing the Great Game is to “begin with the right leadership.” In fact, Kevin says, “If you can’t do this first step, don’t even bother with the other 9 steps.” He talks about transforming leadership from a command and control approach to a more honest and transparent style, and emphasizes the importance of making your employees feel recognized in a way that's meaningful to them. The difference between what leaders think employees want and what they really want is fascinating:
But, the most powerful message he shared was that by demonstrating humility, vulnerability, and servant leadership, you greatly impact the engagement of your employees. Once an employee feels heard by leadership and that they have input, they begin to increase their “discretionary work thoughts.” Enough influence on these discretionary work thoughts can increase your workforce without adding any staff. This powerful concept really shows how beneficial an engaged workforce can be.
So, where do you begin to transform your leadership style to be the most effective at your company? Start with this exercise: Stop | Start | Continue. Kevin had the attendees write down what things they should stop doing as a leader, start doing as a leader and continue doing as a leader. Take a minute to reflect on your own practices and what you need to improve to be the right leader for your organization.
Check out the Annual Gathering of Games to learn more about the world's largest open-book conference.