The Most Important Leadership Actions to Engage Employees
1. Do you trust the leaders in your organisation?
2. Do you experience positive leadership in your organisation?
3. Do you experience job satisfaction and engagement with the organisation?
Chances are, if you answer yes to the first two questions, your answer is likely to be "yes" for the third question as well.
Why so? Because good leadership is the key to increasing employee engagement. Some of you must've known this from first hand experience, for those of you still curious, let us explore this further.
Around 80% of HR professionals link engagement to trust in leaders. Leadership and employee engagement are closely linked, as effective leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate their employees to perform at their best. Now more than ever, is the time to vouch for human-centric leadership for the development and growth of the organisation and its employees.
Human-centric leaders recognize the importance of their employees' well-being, both personally and professionally, and prioritize their needs. They understand that employees are more than just a resource to achieve organizational goals, but rather individuals with unique needs and aspirations. This leadership style focuses on creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued, respected, and supported.
When leaders throughout an organization take an active, genuine interest in the people they manage, when they invest real time to understand employees at a fundamental level, they create a climate for greater morale, loyalty, and yes, growth - Patrick Lencioni
Leaders lead by example. They demonstrate the behavior expected from their colleagues. They set the tone for the culture. Someone who has the decision-making power can prioritize the concerns of the employees and figure out a way to create a healthy and safe space for them to work.
Most important leadership actions to drive employee engagement
Provide support and Recognition
As a leader you need to make your employees feel appreciated and valued. This involves acknowledging their achievements and contributions, providing opportunities for growth and development, and supporting their personal and professional goals. You can even customize recognition to fit the preferences and needs of individual employees. Some employees may prefer public recognition, while others may prefer private recognition or a personalized thank-you note.
Constructive and timely feedback from leaders is valued by the employees. Leaders can play an important role in creating a culture of appreciation and recognition at all levels of the organization. In a study conducted by Gallup, around 23% of employees said that their most memorable recognition came from the CEO.
Supporting employees also includes being empathetic, encouraging learning and growth and cultivating psychological safety for employees.
Building Trust and empowerment
The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I.' And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I.' They don't think 'I.' They think 'we'; they think 'team.' .... This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done - Peter Drucker
Instead of micromanaging your employees, the best thing you can do as a leader is to trust them and give autonomy over their work. Leaders need to trust their employees, allowing them to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This can help employees feel empowered and motivated to achieve their goals.
In order to empower employees to deal with greater responsibilities, leaders can provide opportunities for coaching and mentorship. This will help them utilize their experience and coach colleagues and also get to know them better. Leaders can understand the strengths of the colleagues and help them enhance it and overcome their weaknesses.
Talk to them! Often and Listen! Always
Effective communication is a critical skill for leaders, as it helps to build trust, understanding, and engagement among team members. Communication is a two way street. It includes not just presenting your message in an effective way, but also to be a good listener and understanding the needs of the speaker. Leaders need to actively listen to their team members and understand their perspectives, concerns, and feedback. This involves giving their full attention, asking clarifying questions, and demonstrating empathy.
It is important that the leader is approachable for the employees. There need be numerous occasions where the leader interacts with the colleagues. They can use a variety of communication channels to reach team members, including in-person meetings, email, phone, and video conferencing. Or just chat near the coffee machine!
Effective leaders prioritize employee engagement by fostering a positive work environment, promoting open communication, recognizing employee contributions, and empowering employees. Human-centric leadership, which places the needs and well-being of employees at the forefront, has been shown to be particularly effective in promoting employee engagement. By prioritizing employee engagement, leaders can create a culture of success that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.
While some companies may still maintain toxic work cultures, it's becoming increasingly clear that such practices are untenable and unappealing to both employees and consumers. Companies that prioritize healthy work cultures are likely to be more successful and better equipped to compete in the long term. In this episode, We invited a monument of HR, future of work and Culture Ira Wolfe.