Leadership That Engages Employees

Have you ever been so busy “leading” that when you finally stopped to look around you realized there were no longer any followers?  Yet, without any followers, by definition there is no leader. So what is it that the most effective leaders do to engage others to join their quest?

Much has been written about employee engagement in recent years and countless budgets invested in attempting to improve it. However, despite some progress, the numbers remain rather bleak. There are essentially three types of employees, with the most engaged and highest performing representing roughly one-quarter to one-third of the population.  
In the recent paradigm-shifting book on business and teams, Nine Lies About Work”, authors Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall outline eight simple results achieved by the most effective leaders. Creating environments where team members are more prone to agree strongly with these eight statements directly correlates with building engagement. 
The data also show engagement linking directly to increases in numerous business metrics such as increased productivity, improved safety, better retention, enhanced customer satisfaction, additional profitability, and on the list continues. Here are the eight realities the most effective leaders create for their followers that yield engagement and performance. 
  1. I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.
  2. At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.
  1. In my team, I am surrounded by people who share my values.
  2. I have a chance to uses my strengths everyday at work. 
  1. My teammates have my back.
  2. I know I will be recognized for excellent work.
  1. I have great confidence in my company’s future. 
  2. In my work, I am always challenged to grow. 
How can you put this into action now?
  1. Survey your team for a baseline of where things stand. Ask them to rate each of the above statements on a 1-5 scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree). 
  2. Start small. Focus on making intentional improvements in one area for a period of time. 
  3. Get to know your team. Even if they serve in the same role with the same job description, each team member has unique needs, strengths, preferences and gaps. The best team leaders identify and harness those individual nuances rather than expecting all team members to be “well-rounded” and conform to a one-size-fits-all mold. 
  4. Check for progress. Ask your team the same eight questions every two to three months and continue to act on what you learn to encourage ongoing open communication.
  5. Study the topic. The more you learn about the impact of engagement and how to foster it, the better you’ll become.