There’s No Magic Pill To Boost Leadership & Employee Engagement
Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply give each employee a little medication that would boost leadership and engagement as well as happiness, teamwork, commitment and productivity?
Yes, an Employee Engagement pill would be a dream come true for all of us.
But while there may not be a magic elixir to ignite and galvanize the workforce, you don’t need a Ph.D in chemistry to make positive change in staff behavior and performance.
Let’s start by keeping the train of thought in the world of medicine and ask ourselves who is responsible for our health…ourselves or our doctor? We all know that the doctor plays a key role in maintaining our health but we each need to take responsibility for our own well-being. So ultimately it’s a partnership, and the same holds true in the workplace where leadership should be viewed as a collaborative relationship between ‘the boss’ and ‘the employee’ (and indeed among all employees).
The relationships we have with those we work with day in and day is what truly determines how we feel and perform individually, as a team and holistically throughout the organization. Below we look at seven relationship defining elements that should be part of any prescription to develop leadership and build high levels of engagement.
Feeling Valued is at the heart of an engaged workforce. When employees feel special they act special and this happens when people show a personal interest in other’s needs and traits. The best way to achieve this is by getting to know them through regular one-on-one (and team) meetings where you engage in bouncing ideas off each other and bi-directional feedback.
Feedback is a key driver of engagement and leadership, yet is sadly an under and ill-used management tool. The real trick with feedback is that it is not simply about being honest but of being honest skillfully. Proactive feedback helps everyone understand to what extent he or she is furthering the objectives of the business and should be seen as an opportunity to work together on finding a win-win outcome if opinions differ.
Differences are what define us and should be used to facilitate business progress rather than be an obstacle to good working relationships. By encouraging the expression and acceptance of individual ideas and behaviors any team can draw on individual uniqueness’s for success. By harnessing diverse yet complementary strengths we access a broader set of skills rather than let those dissimilar ideas turn into conflict.
Conflict usually occurs when someone satisfies their own needs at the expense of others…frequently without even realizing they are doing so. It is rarely done on purpose but can end up consuming 25 percent to 40 percent of a manager’s time. A well led workforce will recognize that most disagreements can be resolved with slight adjustments to the language used, a willingness to understand and acknowledge each other’s needs and a culture of openness.
Openness is crucial within a close-knit workforce where everyone is encouraged to speak about needs, feelings and concerns while also being receptive to new ideas, questions and suggestions. A lack of openness can lead to wariness and even mistrust. But a mindset of transparency in the workplace facilitates each employee not just talking about getting their needs met but to making it happen by taking personal accountability and ownership.
Ownership materializes when employees start thinking “what am I going to do?” rather than “what is management going to do?” regarding workplace needs and producing results. It is challenging for managers to know how each person wishes to be treated but in a culture where open conversation is encouraged and leadership is viewed as a partnership, the employees’ initiative, drive and self-belief is augmented which leads to higher levels of motivation.
Motivation is an inner desire to take action that is usually driven by some form of self-interest, where the greater the perceived benefit the more effort given. There is no common source of motivation and money is certainly not be the big motivator many think it is. Effective managers know their staff and take the time to unearth what really motivates each individual by finding out what it takes to make them feel valued.
The above elements are intermingled and should be regularly measured to give you a health-check on the organization at the individual and team levels. Once you know what is wrong in each area (just like the doctor’s diagnosis) you can start taking corrective steps to target improvements where they are needed most. After all, there’s no point giving throat lozenges to someone with a sore knee.
So there you have it; a formula for success that leads to greater productivity and profitability. It may not be a medical formula that we can mix up and mass produce for easy consumption, but just like our own health, there are many little things we can do to make the workplace a better place to work.
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