The Art of Engaging Leadership

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Every leader faces the challenge of not only getting employees engaged, but keeping them engaged for good. The more engaged your team becomes, the more productive they will be and therefore, you will spend more time leading and a lot less time managing. I have seen many leaders fail to engage their employees and have no idea why they can't seem to accomplish this critical task. Many fail because they think that engagement is a result of increased productivity. This is backward thinking however. The reverse is true - productivity is the result of engagement. People who are fully engaged and have bought in to the purpose of the company will naturally produce results.

There is no magic formula for getting people engaged but I have found that there are some crucial mindsets of engaging leaders. Whether you are a leader in a tech company, nonprofit, church, school, or private company, a lack of engagement will derail your team's ability to produce consistent results. Here are five leadership mindsets that will help you get your people engaged and keep them there.

Give them a sense of purpose in what they do.
People who simply have a job to do will do what's expected while people who have purpose will do the unexpected. A paycheck gives them a reason to show up while a sense of purpose keeps them coming back. Nothing creates engagement better than a sense of purpose.

Make them feel that they make a difference in the company.
I have worked for companies that saw people come and go in a steady stream. These companies see people as tools. I have also worked for companies that had an extremely low turnover rate. Those companies see people as a treasure. People who know that they make a viable difference in their workplace are highly engaged and produce fantastic results.

Publicly praise them regularly.
Nothing motivates employees better than making them feel genuinely appreciated. Nothing kills employee engagement faster than feeling unappreciated. Be careful however. Always make your praise sincere and genuine. Public praise shown to get something out of someone is humiliating and is rotten leadership. Never do it, ever!

Let them know that you value them personally.
A company that values the bottom line over people will find itself without people to help it make the bottom line. If you are getting results but your people are getting chewed up and spit out, something is horribly wrong and those people will leave for some place else. Companies that value people find its people stay for the long haul. When people stay with a company for ten, twenty or thirty years it shows they value them. Remember, people are your most important commodity. Without people you have no company.

Be a leader, not a manager.
A manager tells people what to do while a leader shows them how to do it. Managers sit in offices and watch everyone else do the work. Leaders get in the trenches, roll up their sleeves and walk along side those they are leading. This creates high engagement as well as respect.

Are you an engaging leader? It's never too late to start developing the art of engaging leadership. What are some of your ideas on how to create engagement as a leader? I'd love to hear them. Thanks for reading.

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