According to Gallup, only a tenth (11 per cent) of UK employees feel engaged at work, and a new study found that a fifth (21 per cent) are actively disengaged. This is quite disturbing news. It is an indicator that leaders in companies are finding it difficult to stimulate engagement with today’s employees. As a workforce becomes more diverse and younger, it is inevitable.
Many corporations are going through a transformation mode. In this mode, leadership is about unlocking employees’ full potential, allowing them to be their authentic selves and leveraging their strengths and unique perspectives.
Leaders should guide their team to mature and grow with new, expansive roles. Employees want to feel challenged and valued. They want to be trusted and have the freedom to learn and explore within the job. These are essential elements of team management.
- Stop creating tension unknowingly
Leaders unknowingly create tension with their employees when they expect employees to behave the same way they do instead of encouraging them to be authentic. Employees who are encouraged to be themselves rather than what others want them to be will perform far better than those who try to fit into the status quo.
Tension is also created by leaders who don’t take the time to engage and build rapport with their employees. When employees feel their leader doesn’t care or is disingenuous with their career and future, they may shut down and grow bitter at them and the organisation as a whole. Employees respect the leaders who allow them to be genuine and use their natural skills. Engagement among employees rises when they don’t feel confined by constraints and limitations.
- Detect your employees’ positive capabilities
Stop being overly critical of what your employees are not good at and identify where they naturally gravitate to and what their strongest areas are. Dash that job description out the door. Instead, please focus on the areas your employees enjoy and build a plan to utilise their most vital capabilities to create the desired outcome.
We all want to enjoy our work, so as leaders, you should use that desire and allow employees to engage with the business in any way that will generate the required results, all while allowing them the flexibility to explore and navigate how they can contribute best.
- Empower employees and discover their potential
You may never know what employees are capable of accomplishing unless you stop micromanaging them and start empowering them. This allows you to discover their full potential. You, as a leader, should put your employees in situations that will help build their confidence and strengthen their self-trust.
It sounds like a simple concept. However, it requires leaders to let go, step back and observe. This requires a confident leader willing to allow employees to fail and then help them back up.
- Put employees in influential positions
Beyond empowering your employees, you should put them in positions of influence to see how they react and engage with this new position. Stimulating engagement is a two-way street in that it is not only about how employees will gravitate toward their leaders but also how others will gravitate towards them. It would help if you allowed your employees to discover their potential and will enable them to put it to the test. Sit back and watch how employees will become the best version of themselves by leading and collaborating with others. Micromanaged employees will disengage and could be at risk of mentally quitting. Employees want to trust and feel valued for their decisions and see the impact they are creating.
The most engaged employees have the complete trust and confidence of their leaders. They are also the employees who have a sense of responsibility to their leaders. This can be accelerated when you place employees in roles of responsibility and influence.
These four things are what employees are constantly thinking about. Although not ever said directly to their leader. Use these key points as a framework for yourself and other leaders in your business. The more they are implemented, the greater chance of success.