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Leadership Tips: Keeping Engaged

(posted: May 13th, 2009)

Do you ever just need some free tips to remind you of what you probably already know? Does your team ever need them? Well here are a few to help get you through this season of uncertainty...

Depending on what you read and how optimistic you are, you might feel that the economy might be improving or heading in the right direction. But until that becomes a hard reality in the minds of all the people you lead, you have a more difficult time ahead of you. Regardless of when things turn around and when all our trepidation dissipates, managers must REALLY do more with less these days. Budgets are tighter and staff sizes have been reduced. On top of it all, we've got to do it with anxious employees who are probably disengaged or worried.

So, how do great managers inspire top performance in employees?

How do they generate enthusiasm, unite disparate personalities to focus on a common mission, and drive teams to achieve ever-higher goals? It's tough.

You may have heard the term "engaged employees" used frequently by Jim Harter, who studies workers' commitment to their jobs. Another common term he uses is "employee engagement."

At Gallup, the research and consulting firm has great tips to share in a book Harter co-authored, "12 The Elements of Great Managing."

This is a great book I highly recommend and I use many of their best practices in my consulting work with my clients.

In my consulting practice, I have seen these tips play out well. Here are a few tips that I have adapted:

  1. First; organizations have to put more attention into their people.
  2. Next, they have to communicate more.
  3. And thirdly, managers have to put more focus into setting expectations, making sure people know what they're supposed to do.

Keys to employee engagement include:

  • Understanding the company vision and purpose and feel their job is important
  • Clear roles and goals with consistent accountability
  • Managers understanding and support of employees
  • Listening with sensitivity to employee needs
  • Opportunities to learn and develop with someone encouraging them
  • Friendships and respect from co-workers
  • Understand the future and how they are a part of it
  • Frequent recognition and praise for doing good work

I want to expand a bit on this last point about frequent recognition. Sometimes we can forget about giving recognition, or not giving it enough. When we are under pressure and times are difficult, it's easier to think about catching people doing things wrong than to think about recognizing people when they're doing great.

Recognition is even more important in times like this.

They're going to hear more negatives just naturally through the course of the day, and if you can't get recognition from your manager and your colleagues, from where are you going to get it?

Challenge Yourself
  • What are you doing to keep the individuals on your team engaged until things get better?
  • What is working to keep your employees actively engaged?
  • What are you challenged with that is falling short of expectations.

I would love to hear!

This blog post was originally posted at www.linked2leadership.com.


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