Multiple studies by the Gallup organization as well as other researchers demonstrate the power of employee engagement. Those organizations with higher levels of employee engagement are consistently more profitable than organizations with lower levels of engagement. Intuitively this makes sense. If those around you are more engaged in the work they do, they “own” what they do, take pride in it and are constantly looking for ways to do it better, you will have increased effectiveness and efficiency resulting in improved results and a better bottom line. We all can nod our heads and get this “blinding glimpse of the obvious.” Translating that “obvious” insight into action that results in increased employee engagement is much more difficult.
Increasing the level of employee engagement requires a higher level of leadership effectiveness that generates enhanced follower-ship as well as inspiring others to “step up” to acting as leaders as needed. This means having a consistent philosophy of what good leadership looks like, understanding what generates others to follow as well as knowing how and what to do to tap aspiration and to inspire others. This requires a coherent set of leadership practices that create a liberating environment by offering a sense of Autonomy (say so in my fate and work), Personal Mastery (growth and development and being more employable for working with you), and Core Purpose (inviting people to define the value legacy they wish to leave behind – making it deeply personal in terms of the larger strategic perspective on living).
To do all of the above, to get maximum levels of engagement and to help people move through change more powerfully and effectively we have to dispel, or rather “dis-spell” some of the limiting ways of perceiving, thinking and acting that come from old world views and any self-limiting beliefs. Leaders can help generate much higher levels of engagement by focusing on providing six key things:
1) A clear sense of direction -(the purpose of the business, the vision for the future and strategic pathways forward) 2) Practical coaching 3) Effective communication and feedback loops 4) On-going information updates on individual and collective progress 5) Resources in terms of tools, processes and methodologies for: collaborating, creative thinking, problem solving, decision-making and crisp execution 6) A sense of being respected and cared for by management by the tone, style and method of communicating, holding accountability and reinforcing desired behaviors.
What are you doing in your organization and your leadership practices to generate the six (6) key aspects above?