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Lead with Engagement (Today!)

Gallup defines “employee engagement” as:

“Employees work with passion and feel profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”

I agree with this definition and I agree with the results of their study stating that dis-engagement costs the US economy several hundred million dollars a year in lost productivity, lack of creativity, and other issues related to poor performance. In fact, I think Gallup’s work in promoting a strengths-based approach to professional development is one of the giant steps forward in this area.

But, there are some very simple things you can start doing today to engage your employees and build the foundation for them to be motivated, productive, creative, and loyal.

  • Say, “Hi” – How often to do you just say, “Hello” to your team, in the morning? Or, do you rush to your desk to check your email and calendar? If it’s easier for you this way, block off 10-15 minutes every morning (or, start with 1-2 days a week) to just walk around to each employee and greet them as they come in. You will be amazed at the difference this makes.
  • Be Present – Is there anything more disappointing when you bring an important issue to someone you trust and that person answers their cell phone or checks their email? When talking to someone, don’t answer your phone and don’t check your email or texts. In fact, when someone enters your office to talk, close your laptop altogether or at east shut off the screen on a desktop computer. You will get their attention in a very positive way.
  • Listen – Organizing your thoughts and speaking so that others can understand your ideas is easily less than half of what it takes to be a good communicator. The next time someone on your team comes to you, simply start with, “How can I help you?” and resist the urge to interrupt.
  • Respond Actively & Constructively – Shelly Gable, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology has completed quite a bit of research on building successful relationships. She found that how you discuss good events is more predictive of strong relations than how you fight or disagree. So, when an employee walks in your office with good news. Drop what you are doing. Give him/her your full attention. Show your genuine interest with your body language and by asking questions.

So, asking your employees to take strengths tests and  re-craft their work are important steps to increase their productivity and engagement, but they take time. The simple steps discussed above can make a difference, today. Let me know what you think…

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  1. March 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I agree that all forms of regular, consistent and authentic communication is essential, but I coach my clients to understand and learn how to informally recognize people (both peers and subordinates) for the right things — results oriented activities that support the achievement of strategic business objectives. It’s one thing to say thank-you, but another to publicly recognize for things that matter to the organization.

  2. March 17, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Jeff – Good point. Couldn’t agree with you more. What inspired me to write this was a conversation I had with a friend about how his boss didn’t even say “hello” in the morning. Just made me think that there are some very simple. Thanks for your comment!

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