It is surely true that being a leader is a demanding job and often takes more hours than seem to exist in any day. However, some leaders know ways to effectively engage employees to perform well. You too can use these approaches.
The key is making time for effective communication with them and using it to its best advantage. Here are four strategies that work for our clients.
- Commit yourself to projecting a positive attitude – not pretending or being forced – rather, finding a genuine, optimistic outlook. And every day!
- Generate and project optimism for the future. Remember little Pig Pen in the Charlie Brown cartoons; he always spread a cloud of dust wherever he went; don’t be your organization’s spreader of contagious demoralizing gloom.
- Remember that employees look to their leaders for clues about whether to have a can-do attitude or to be worried or cynical. They make a choice to dig-in whole-heartedly or to be constantly looking for a new job either in the organization, (but not your area), or to be moving to a new organization. Big loss for you potentially!
- Manage their perceptions of hierarchy – reduce the sense of distance between you and your staff. Traditional bosses convey a sense of being “above” their employees, generating fear and wariness.
- Be a real human being – not a buddy, but also not a guru on a mountain top.
- Get to know your employees as people, as well as workers, and let them know you also. Talk about hobbies, interests, as well as work topics.
- Be a coach!
- Help people succeed.
- Teach, show and encourage. Focus on success, not failures. According to Sujan Patel, a recent Inc. magazine article, “7 Deadly Sins of Employee Communication” http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/success/inc/tca-7-deadly-sins-of-employee-communication-20170131-story.html, cites a Gallup study showing that employee engagement strongly correlates with managers who focus on strengths, not weaknesses. Further, many organizations are abandoning annual performance reviews altogether and replacing them with regular feedback and coaching meetings that emphasize successes.
- Support your employees’ development – both in their current roles and for the next steps in their career aspirations. Patel cites a 2016 Deloitte survey showing that “millennials who are satisfied with their professional development opportunities are twice as likely to stay with the company.” Turnover costs a lot, so spending development dollars wisely pays off both in short term performance, as well as in retention of talented people for the long term!
- Make time to communicate – The only way to accomplish these three approaches is to make time. Decide to spend time with your employees — and do it! Be approachable and extend yourself in some new and powerfully effective ways.
Call us for assistance; we are experts in leader skill development and employee engagement.