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Better engagement with the team

While employee engagement is all the rage (and for the right reasons) these days, leaders need to realize that a large part often depends on how they show up as humans at the workplace.

I found these simple and timeless insights on how to engage with your employees better. I’ve been trying these for years and can guarantee that they work and can make you a better leader.

Here we go!

Focus and listen. There’s nothing worse than trying to engage a boss who’s distracted. Put the phone down, close the laptop, stop looking over their shoulder. Reorient your posture and attention, and give them the courtesy of acknowledging their time, effort, and enthusiasm.

Pause. Take a breath…and while you’re doing that, dispel the persistent belief that you hold a monopoly on the intellect in the conversation because of your rank and experience. If you heard something you already knew, can you say “Thank you” and leave it be? If you have a subordinate with an insurmountable problem, can you guide them by asking questions instead of handing out answers? This makes them the smart one, not you.

Sense. Be open to new ideas. When you turn off your tendency to come over the top and offer your immediate input, you let your brain digest the presented information. This leads to pattern recognition, lateral association, and creative problem-solving. When you’re not busy telling the room how smart you are, you’re giving yourself the best chance to be smart.

Edify. When you’ve got a team willing to contribute, you’ve also got the opportunity to highlight their talents.

Marshall Goldsmith

Suppose every team member, team leader, manager, department head, and C-suite executive was committed to practising these simple strategies. In that case, facilitators who brand themselves as “employee engagement strategists” will be out of work in no time!

The point is that engaging your workforce has less to do with tactics and strategies but more to do with your ability to give the time, space, and attention that they deserve. Of course, that takes a lot of effort, and it’s so much easier to outsource it to some random vendor providing employee engagement services but is it worth it? I don’t think so. Unless, of course, you plan to keep them forever.

But come on! They’re your employees. The onus is onto you to engage with them better. Not an external agency. We’ve got to learn to do this right first. It’s not as complicated as you think.

All you need is to do is put in the time. Are you willing to do that?