It should come as no shock to anyone that the leading cause of voluntary separation between an organization and an employee is how that employee views their relationship with their managers.
That relationship determines a large aspect of the employee experience. When managers and other leaders within the organization are not on the same page when it comes to engaging and retaining their team-members, expensive and time consuming employee engagement initiatives will suffer, as will the culture of the organization.
While not every manager-employee relationship is going to be perfect, there are keys that every leader should be using to make sure they are supporting their reporting staff, and creating the culture that their own supervisors and leaders envision.
The best leaders –at any level– excel at reaching and motivating their employees. How do they do that?
The most obvious element of promoting engagement as a leader is also one that most leaders (and everyone in between) struggle with.
Communication is at the core of alignment, so when you’re expressing to your reports what you expect from them, make sure that you’re also using this opportunity to express how it helps the organization achieve their goals. Express your vision to them, and set challenging yet achievable goals that will motivate them to work towards and share that vision.
Not only does this bolster your employees’ confidence in you, but it reinforces that the work they’re doing is important to the mission of your organization.
It’s also important that as a leader, you model listening skills. We’ve been beaten over the head with the importance of listening since we were school-age, yet many of us still struggle. Actively listen to what your team-members are saying, and if you find yourself cooking up a reply before they’re done talking, mindfully return yourself to listening. Ask questions, and be sure that you’ve understood your employee’s request or query before building your own response.
Employees look to leaders to make big decisions. Having the ability to make a call and then support your team in accomplishing the projects that arise from those decisions is invaluable in a leader.
The ability of a strong leader to make executive decisions in a timely manner relates directly to your team’s ability to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Understanding expectations is a major key of accomplishing employee engagement.
With that being said, your employees will trust you as well as the expectations you have for them if they can trust your decision making process. Gather and share the information you use to make decisions, honestly and openly consider the alternatives with them – let them have input.
Ultimately you will be making the final call, but involving them and listening to them will also foster the engagement need for employees to feel like their input matters.
It is not realistic to expect a CEO to have a caring and individual relationship with every single employee. As leaders, it falls upon you to make some sort of individual connection with your direct employees.
If this works like it should, attention and care should cascade from the top down like a waterfall. CEOs and other C-Level leaders provide the care and attention to their reports, and so on.
Taking the time to nurture relationships with your reports builds a culture where this trend continues; coworkers care for one another and help with projects when they are able. This kind of environment is powerful for employee engagement.
When care is a main function of relationships within a workplace, friendships are built, which creates a natural inclination towards protecting and supporting the organization. There are a multitude of statistics on the quantifiable business results of employees feeling like they have a best friend at work, or that they can rely on their team to do their jobs well.
At the very core of organizations who have successfully engaged their employees runs one major commonality. Organizations who have refocused themselves on employee engagement have refocused themselves on meeting their employees where they are, as individuals with different and unique needs. Leaders have the unique ability to not only inspire their employees, but to reach them and coach them towards aligning their work with the mission of the company, and achieving the goals that reflect business success.
Without this focus, engagement initiatives miss the mark. Without leaders prepared to be coaches, your engagement initiative will not have enough steam to help you reach your goals.
Want more information on how to align your leadership with your engagement initiatives? Check out the “Rockstar Leadership” series of videos from Psychologist Eve Ash, in The BizLibrary Collection.
Watch a 1-minute preview of “Rockstar Leadership” from The BizLibrary Collection here:
For more tips on creating a thriving and engaged business culture view our webinar “Build a Culture to Encourage Learning, Creativity and Collaboration” with Eve Ash.