An article in the New York Daily News reports that nearly 70% of U.S. employees are miserable at work. According to the story, research conducted by the Gallup Poll suggests that the majority of American’s dislike or feel disengaged on the job. Needless to say, this is disturbing news. It’s also an indicator that leaders are having trouble finding ways to stimulate engagement with today’s employees – a workforce that is much more diverse and younger than ever before.
Many corporations are experiencingtransformation mode, where leadership is about enabling the full potential in others. It’s about allowing employees to be their authentic selves so they can leverage their strengths and unique perspectives. I know this firsthand; in the early years of my career, I was considered high-potential by an organization that was reinventing itself. Rather than assume I was too young to take on the additional responsibilities of hiring and leading people twice my age to accomplish their goals, the organization’s leadership invested in my potential and as a result I grew quickly in this new role. This calculated risk from leadership paid off, and allowed me to prove that as an executive in my late 20s, I could generate tremendous revenue growth and ROI for the organization. I will forever be grateful to those leaders that engaged me early on and guided me rightly.
Leaders need to let go and guide their employees to mature within new and expansive roles and responsibilities. Employees want to feel valued and challenged; they want to be trusted and given the freedom to explore and learn within the job. Employees that stretch themselves to grow and take on more advanced assignments especially should be given the opportunity to further accelerate their advancement. The bottom line is that leaders must continuously create new opportunities for their employees – or their workforce will not be innovative enough.
How else can you determine if an employee is capable of performing and stepping-up their game if you are not continuously finding new ways to engage them? This is leadership and it takes extra time and effort. If you are not cut out for this, then reconsider your leadership role. If you are not engaging your employees to create great teams, you are being irresponsible to the organization and the people you serve. Perhaps this explains the Gallup Poll’s recent findings.
Today’s leaders must constantly focus on the growth of their teams and strengthening the capabilities of individuals that can make the team more effective; this creates an environment of continuous innovation and initiative. Think of your employees as an innovation lab. As such, employee engagement should always be abundant!
To assure you don’t create a reputation as a leader that doesn’t engage employees, here are six things to consider to more effectively engage your employees. These are fundamental tips that employees desire from their leaders, and if implemented properly, will stimulate employee engagement that’s been missing.
1. Stop unknowingly creating tension
Leaders unknowingly create tension with their employees when they expect them to behave like they do, rather than encouraging them to be their authentic selves. Opportunities are everywhere, but few leaders have the eyes to see them. When employees are encouraged to be themselves and not what others want them to be, they will begin to embrace an entrepreneurial attitude that wasn’t previously being leveraged – thus stimulating engagement.