An organization with engaged, happy employees can operate at its fullest potential by allowing people to do their best work. A company that truly and uniquely engages its employees fosters individual differences, adds meaning and value to the professional and personal lives of its employees, and represents a shared mission that stands for something meaningful, and fosters honest and straightforward vertical and horizontal communication.
Here are practical insights and ideas on how managers can increase their engagement, create connected organizations, and in that way in crease their influence and overall effectiveness.
- Encourage them more. Give your employees the leeway, freedom, and autonomy to explore their ideas and you’ll be astounded what they can come up with. Respect them, encourage them. People need to feel a human connection at work if they’re going to feel invested. Give the personal support your employees need, avoid dismissing their ideas and opinions, and recognize them for the progress they make every day.
- Trust them more. The sense of trust in an organization is the single most important tool in overcoming barriers and obstacles facing organizational effectiveness and successful teamwork. Successful communication, team cohesion, achievements, and organizational progression are possible only in an atmosphere of trust. Fostering a culture of trust ensures that people feel secure in dealing with other members of a team and this is a long-term recipe for success.
- Take an interest in my development. Numerous studies have long established what most employers and managers already identify: an investment in the professional development of employees increases employee retention, employee engagement, employee productivity, and organizational results. Don’t just focus career development on the high-potentials. Identify the three most important technical and organizational competencies that each employee needs to work on in order to achieve their goals. Then identify the “development actions” to address the development needs. Help employees identify and work at the types of challenges that fit with their personal experience of engagement and career progression.
- Keep them in the loop. Effective communications with employees can keep them engaged in the business goals. Employees need to know how the organization is doing, how they fit into the big picture, and what they can do to ensure that their efforts influence the overall achievements of the organization. Direct line of communication between employees and managers can engage the workforce more than slogans, and HR campaigns.
- Be more honest with them. Employees grow to trust management more when managers communicate honestly, tell the plain truth—even when it hurts. Employees want the truth from their managers, not wordsmithed, cliched phrases that lack any significant meaning. Great managers have the distinct ability to reassure people through direct and honest communication, especially in times of big change and uncertainty. By being honest with employees, managers also set the right tone and the expectation of honesty and integrity from all the employees.
- Connect with them more. Acknowledging that every employee is different, managers need to know what excites, motivates and engages each employee. Connecting with employees reinforces the idea that all your employees feel included. Everyone is part of the team; therefore everyone should participate in the achievement of the organization’s goals. You can only move an organization forward when all your employees feel accountable and included.
Recommended Reading: ‘The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations’ by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner emphasizes the importance of leaders who question differently, challenging a team’s thought process, enabling others to think “out of the box,” expand the creative process, and hence encourage innovation. Kouzes and Posner underscore a key attitude that leadership is all about relationships. With many anecdotes, the book defines a framework around which you managers and leaders can make the jump from the theoretical to the practical aspects of team management.