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You've Got to Have Heart to Have an Engaged Team

By Ken and Lee Estridge

Engaging and mobilizing employees can feel like a daunting challenge. However, we have found that a few simple behaviors can make a huge difference to improve engagement.

It is frustrating to have to read minds

Many employees are frustrated because they feel like they have to read their manager's mind. They don't know how they are doing and what they need to do better. The annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out, and that event is so stressful and formal that the environment is not conducive for improvements. Too many managers think that no news is good news and that if things aren't broken they don't need to communicate with employees.

The solutions are simpler than you might think

There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. They cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact.

One opportunity that many leaders have - even at the C-level - is to give more frequent, informal feedback about how each employee is doing. That way, everyone in an organization knows what is expected of him or her and how he or she can get better. The closer to an event and the more specific the feedback is, the more powerful it will be.

It is as important to provide positive feedback and praise for things well done as it is to provide critical feedback and suggestions for improvement. When people work hard and make sacrifices for their job, it is important that they feel their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. A little thanks goes a long way and helps to engage the hearts of your employees.

Seven Simple Questions that Every Leader Must Answer for an Engaged Team

  1. What do I expect from you?
  2. What are you doing well?
  3. What, if anything, can you be doing better?
  4. What, if anything, do I want you to do better?
  5. (If appropriate): What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments)?
  6. (If appropriate): What will happen if you don't improve?
  7. How can I help?

While all of these questions are important, the last question is especially important. It shows the employee that the leader cares, and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame. The more a leader genuinely demonstrates that they care about their employees; the more employees will care about the company and their leader.

In this month of the heart, bring your heart to work and show people you really appreciate them.

For more information about engaging and mobilizing employees, and to take our free self-assessment about how well you are engaging and mobilizing, click here.

Warmest regards and Happy Valentines Day,
Ken and Lee