Leadership & Management August 04, 2015

The ABC of employee engagement

or how to keep your team motivated

or how to keep your team motivated

    Autonomy, Opportunities, Zig-zag – Our A to Z list to see if you’re doing all you can do to boost your people’s engagement.

 

Here is our A to Z list for managers who want to boost employee engagement:

Autonomy –Agree clear targets with your team members, but don’t give step-by-step instructions on how to get there. Avoid micromanaging (cc’d on all emails, strong focus on details, never satisfied). Help your employees own their projects by providing support.

Behaviour – You’re the role model for your team - so be consistent in your words and actions.

Challenge – Help people to feel comfortable being uncomfortable by expanding their comfort zone. Achieving something new will make them happy! 

Disengagement – You send emails on Saturdays but you don’t expect people to reply immediately. It’s all up to them. Really? Haven’t you ever thought that your project manager might feel obliged to do so? That you put pressure on him? Write your emails over the week-end but schedule them for Monday morning so that your people can fully disengage.

Empathy – Put yourself in your employee’s shoes and get to grips with how he ticks. Then align your leadership style so that it best matches his personality. By the way, empathy is linked to positive business results such as higher sales and improved performance, and it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everybody’s view.

Flow – This is the mental state when we are completely absorbed in what we’re doing, when enjoyment meets productivity. To make sure that your people experience this during their work hours (and not just in their private life) think of the right framework. Don’t let workplace interruptions and fragmentations gain the upper hand. Provide extra space for silent work and reduce the number of meetings to those strictly necessary.   

Give feedback - So that employees can learn and grow. 

Hello and how are you? Stop by from time to time and chit-chat about nothing business-oriented. This helps us enjoy our time at work.  

Inspire - Your people to give their best by erasing barriers to smarter working.   

Jackal language – It’s easy to destroy trust when you accuse and criticise. Non-violent communication is the best way to overcome conflict and move forward together! Try the language of the giraffe!

Keep it short and simple - If you can’t explain what you mean in a short simple way, then go back to the drawing board until you get it right. Being vague leads to unproductive employees and creates frustration.

Leadership lessons - You read books and articles about leadership. But there’s still a world of difference between knowing about skiing and having the skills to ski. So make sure that you have a coach to help you practice new skills or kick old habits for the benefit of your team.

Meaningful work – Is more important to your employees than their end of year bonus. What managers can do is shape the workplace environment so that meaningful work is possible for employees.

Nonverbal communication - Make sure you’re sending the same message, both verbally and non-verbally.

Opportunities - Help, my job is terribly boring! Both burn-out and bore-out kill employee engagement. So consider opportunities for people to get involved in areas they might otherwise not have the chance to try (special assignments, cross organisational projects, new tasks). 

Perfectionism - Do you try to show a positive image of yourself by disguising or concealing negative developments? This is disastrous. Firstly, because people appreciate sincere executives with rough edges much more than dishonest bosses. And secondly, because managers who just drop negative things from the agenda will be exposed at a later date, which not only leads to poor results, but also the frustration of the team.

Questions – Ask open questions to get to the root cause of a problem. Then find a mutually agreed solution to solve it!

Respect - IndividuaI differences. We tend to prefer people who are similar to us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a personal relationship just because you love the opera and your employee is a fan of heavy metal.

Story telling – Helps people understand the need for change by engaging both their hearts and minds. So what’s your story?                                                                          

 Thumbs up - “Well done!” This compliment puts a smile on everybody’s face. But giving praise still isn’t natural to all managers. And that’s a shame because people are more engaged when they know they’re respected and valued. So our tip is: Praise more often!

Understand - The uniqueness of each of your team members!

Vitamins - Hand-made baskets with colourful fresh fruit brighten up the workplace, in much the same way as flowers do. And they help people to eat healthily. 

What do you propose? - Engage people by asking for their ideas and solutions.

X-traordinary results - Only with engaged employees!

“Yes-and”– “Yes, but how much will that cost”, “yes, but that’s not the process”… If you always react to proposals with a “yes, but” approach, you create limitations and difficulties, and your team will get irritated and stuck. Try to react with a “yes-and”-attitude so the opportunities in your people’s proposals can appear.

Zig-zag: Ensure your people are ready to embrace change.

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