Many executives believe that a happy, engaged workforce is the key to success in business. After all, engaged employees tend to be the people excited about their work and empowered to contribute fully to the success of the organization. To that end, a key role for effective leaders is to create and support a culture of engagement. Below are five leadership behaviors to master.
Show Some Respect, Please
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The Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) Christine Porath says that civility and respect are the most important traits in inspiring engagement and commitment from other employees. She references an HBR study of 20,000 workers around the world, a study that concluded employees value being treated with respect even more than receiving recognition for their work. She recommends leaders in management discover their shortcomings, get feedback from staff, work with a coach, if necessary, and ask teams to keep leaders accountable.
Be Involved by Getting Involved
“The company that plays together, stays together,” says Andre Lavoie of Entrepreneur. Leaders who engage with staff in activities employees enjoy create a more enthusiastic, cohesive, and engaged workforce. Lavoie recommends volunteering together, playing on a sports team, or even taking lunch, singly or in groups, with staff. The idea, he says, is appreciating employees as individuals, at work and outside work.
Balance Push and Pull
In a report released by Zenger Folkman, a leadership consultancy, Joe Folkman says that many managers focus too much on “driving for results.” In other words, he says, managers may push employees, and neglect inspiring, or pulling them toward a common vision and goal. Leaders who find a balance between the two behaviors are more successful at both achieving superior results and creating a more cohesive, engaged team, he says.
Clearly Communicate a Path to Success
Forbes’ Meghan M. Biro says that effective leaders “provide a path to success not only for those with leadership promise but for all employees.” Identify each individual’s strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to not only help the employee achieve potential, but also have plans for course correction, she says.
Biro advises leaders to be honest both with employees and themselves. “Not everyone is a superstar,” she observes, but everyone does have something to contribute. Mentor and nurture those with leadership potential, she advises, so that these employees can nurture the next generation of leaders.
Use Transparency to Build Trust
Lavoie says that everyone in the organization should understand company-wide goals. Employees should identify the company’s position in the marketplace and potential challenges facing the business, while being aware of opportunities for growth.
Lavoie also asserts that employees who know how their jobs contribute to the organization’s success are more motivated and achievement-oriented. He recommends a regular schedule of both formal and informal staff meetings based on transparency and building trust.
Successful businesses have effective leaders who can develop loyal, goal-oriented, and engaged employees. Armed with healthy self-awareness and a willingness to grow and improve, leaders who can practice these five behaviors can achieve those goals and inspire engagement in their employees.