3 Steps for Becoming a More Engaged Leader

June 20, 2017

Are you motivating your employees?

You might not be. A recent Gallup survey found that nearly 70% of U.S. employees are miserable at work. But what can you do as a leader to help keep them happy in the workplace?

Naturally, employee happiness, or engagement, depends on several factors—but one thing that can influence their happiness is working with engaged leaders. Why? Because a miserable employee is a disengaged employee.

As leaders, we’re often so concerned with achieving the bigger goals that we forget how much work our colleagues at all levels of the corporate ladder have to put in for the organization to succeed.

To become a more engaged leader, you need to get back to the basics. Here’s 3 steps to help get you there.

1. Listen with Purpose

How do you get to know your employees?

Well, how do you get to know anyone, really? By listening.

When your employees air their complaints, take note. These complaints tell you why they might be disengaging and will give you the information you need to help keep them engaged. If you actively listen, you’ll know what needs to be done. Employees respect a leader that pays attention and takes action to make their jobs more enjoyable. Leaders are there to serve their employees and their organization, and not necessarily the other way around, as many may think.

You may be thinking that getting to know everyone in your department on a one-on-one basis is impossible. Maybe so. Maybe your department shouldn’t be that big, or maybe it should be divided into smaller teams. Even if you can’t change the structure of your organization, technology offers many solutions—from Slack channels to anonymous surveys to team-based project management systems.

Using such digital tools allows us to listen to several people at once and continuously. It’s not just about listening to complaints—it’s about listening for ideas, opinions, and thoughts about the organization. As the leader, you can then use this information to achieve organizational goals.

2. Encourage and Empower

If you started from the bottom, you may remember what it was like when your boss expected you to perform your work the way he/she wanted you to. If they worked after hours, they expected you to do the same. If they took lunch at their desk, they wanted you to also.

Many employees become frustrated when there are too many restrictions placed upon them. Perhaps unknowingly, a leader creates tension by placing these restrictions, which can in turn lead to disengaged employees.

Instead, set out goals and deadlines for your team members to achieve, but give them the space to achieve those objectives in their own specific ways. Being in tune with the strengths and weaknesses of your employees will facilitate this process. The better you know them, the more they’ll feel that you care and the more engaged they’ll become.

While you’re empowering them, be sure to also share information. It’s difficult to work towards a target if you don’t know the reasons behind it. Besides, employees might come up with better ways to get there.

3. Develop the Next Generation of Leaders

This last step goes beyond empowering. Once you know your team’s strengths, find the right opportunities to put them in a position of influence. This will allow you to see if they can rise to the challenge.

Whether it’s appointing an employee to head up a project, lead a client presentation, or plan an upcoming event, giving them this additional responsibility will motivate them, let them see their own potential, and give them a chance to work up the corporate ladder. Plus, it will also show you how other team members gravitate towards them.

Being put in a position of influence helps employees see that they can make an impact in their career and on the organization on a larger scale. Knowing that you have a chance to move up from your current position means you’ll be more engaged in your job and will strive to help push the organization towards success. This will benefit everyone in the long run!

Becoming a More Engaged Leader: It’s Not About You

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