How to Amp Up Employee Engagement Using Four Extraordinary Leadership Techniques
Extraordinary leaders are always looking for ways to get their employees more engaged, enthusiastic, productive, and passionate about their jobs. Exceptional leaders know what research has confirmed: when employees are engaged, teamwork is more prevalent, customers are more satisfied, and companies thrive.
If you aren’t happy with the engagement level of your employees, take a quick look in the mirror! Extraordinary leadership engagement will always drive enthusiastic employee engagement. Extraordinary leaders make it a practice to constantly inspire and work with team members to stay positive and involved. Passion is contagious, and employees are energized by a leader’s credibility, sense of purpose, and passion.
If you’re struggling to see honest engagement from your employees, don’t give up! Here are four actionable steps you can take personally. They may appear simplistic and a bit clichéd, but don’t overlook them! I’m serious about that. Take these best practices to heart:
Think Globally, But Act Locally
Visionary thinking involves seeing the big picture and imagining your company as a product and service leader. If you honestly believe your company can achieve incredible market share and customer satisfaction, you can instill that big picture drive and philosophy in your employees, because people find meaning in contributing to something bigger than themselves.
On the other hand, rewarding their daily commitment to assigned work tasks and tactical responsibilities helps your employees stay engaged in the work at hand. Your people will never soar if they (and you) settle for walking. One of our key operating principles is this: If people understand what is expected and believe they are valued as legitimate team members, they’ll drive themselves to unbelievable excellence.
Reinforce Showing Respect as a Best Practice
Employees always work better when they feel appreciated, valued, and respected. This does not require an inordinate amount of time, nor does it need to cost a lot of money. In fact, the most powerful forms of showing respect cost nothing! You can demonstrate respect and appreciation through the simple acts of awareness, gratitude, and interest. Know what your folks are doing and make yourself available to clarify, mentor, and guide. Offer sincere and generous gratitude for work well done, efforts to knock down walls, and out-of-the-box service. Make time to talk with each of your employees to understand their interests, their aspirations, and their ideas. These simple acts of involvement will reap incredible dividends as your team realizes you are committed to demonstrating respect and appreciation.
Always Be Clear and Fair
If you’re not offering clear ‘boots-on-the-ground’ direction, fair and timely feedback, and believable work objectives, you will confuse your employees and undermine their success. Lack of clarity and fairness are two of the root causes that contribute to incomplete tasks and unacceptable results.
It’s difficult for employees to feel motivated when they’re confused, and your lack of clarity actually sets them up for failure. In our Leadership Think Tank sessions, one of the most common themes employees share during the focus groups — and one of the hardest for leaders to grasp and understand — is the claim of favoritism. While most leaders would never intentionally practice favoritism, the perception exists in the minds of employees. Perform a personal audit of your actions to search out any illusion of favoritism, and seek to treat all your folks with the same clarity of expectations, communication opportunities, information sharing, and demonstration of rewards.
Hold Yourself Accountable For Creating an Employee Engagement-Rich Environment
Hold yourself accountable for your actions – and inactions – just as much as you hold everyone else both accountable and responsible. Take stock on a regular basis to evaluate how supportive, informative, and transparent you are being. In fact, I offer a 30-day challenge for you: For the next 30 days, ask at least one employee, peer, client/customer, or higher-level leader per day the following question:
What one thing am I doing well, and what one thing can I improve on,
in terms of being an extraordinary leader?
Keep a journal (notebook or electronic — your choice!) and capture the responses you receive. Then look for trends and patterns to build your strengths and work on areas for improvement. The very act of conducting these conversations will go a long way toward creating an engagement-rich environment for everyone!
© 2016 Cher Holton, HoltonConsulting.com