Team engagement is more than just a buzzword. Companies large and small have learned the value of engaging employees and what they mean to both the profitability and longevity of the company.
Millions of dollars are spent every year to discover ways to keep employees engaged. Part of their budget is spent on discovering and retaining team leaders who are successful in engaging team members. Gallup recently released new research that discovered that “disengaged” employees offer the greatest opportunity for businesses to improve their performance and profitability.
That’s where you come in!
Here are 4 proven ways to keep your team engaged regularly, resulting in employees who are motivated, work with passion, and achieve a purpose in their everyday tasks that gives them a profound connection to your company and their work.
Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi
1. Keep Your Team the Main Focus
Too often, team leaders view their own position as a way-point to something bigger or better and fail to invest time or effort in developing the team around them. You may have had your own bad experiences when your team leader was disengaged. As team leader, you need to keep your focus on employees.
Today’s team manager is more than just a “get the job done” role; the team leader is sensitive to the needs of the team and knows employee needs intimately. As leader, you need to know what is really going on within the team dynamic and be ready to advocate for them as issues arise. When your team really hits a home run, you need to be the first to deflect all the praise back to the team and show them how important they are to you and the company.
2. Increase Your Surface Area
No one likes a leader who directs from behind closed doors. To really engage your team, you need to be touchable. The larger your team, the more difficult this aspect of leadership becomes, but nothing prevents you from visiting your team!
Some may manage remote teams. with today’s technological advancements, it’s much easier to make video conferencing a part of your weekly routine. Slammed with meetings all week? Use your commute time to connect with team members and check in on their progress with projects.
Use technology to your advantage when attempting to increase your surface area. Be as innovative as you can when it comes to staying accessible to your team. They’ll love you for it.
I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom Rath
3. Allow the Team to Lead
As leaders, it’s our natural tendency to want to take “ownership” (control) of every situation in order to ensure things are done exactly as we think they should. But, this is counterproductive to team engagement.
If you hold back, possibly for fear of failure, and deny the team ownership of processes and tasks you end up robbing the team of the experiences — both good and bad — that connect them to the purpose of their work. The team needs opportunities to succeed (and fail) and these are integral to their professional growth.
Not only should everyone in your team have a place, they should also have a voice. When employees understand that they have a “say so”, you will unleash the highest level of innovative thinking within the group.
By giving your team opportunity to take charge of an outcome, you will gain their respect and inspire a passion for what they do.
4. Speak Clearly
There is nothing more confusing to any employee than a manager communicating with ambiguity.
Without clear, succinct communication, your team will often be left feeling confused and disconnected. They need to know how their efforts contribute to the “big picture” on a regular basis and this message needs to be told in different ways many, many times.
When you feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again, albeit in different ways, that’s when you know your team is beginning to hear what you have to say. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing strategy that states your prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they take action.
The same applies to your team. They need to hear you tell them how their work contributes to the big picture over and over until that sense of purpose begins to grow in their own hearts and minds.
Studies by Gallop show that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. When you engage your team, they’re more than functionally committed, they are emotionally invested in the mission and values of your business.