Managers tell, leaders engage
Cape Cod SCORE
Question: The pandemic has made employee engagement even more important. How do I harness my leadership skills to engage my team more effectively?
Answer: Leaders build engaged teams since employee engagement is front and center for managers who want to shift their emphasis to leadership. If you want to pivot your skill set, consider the following:
Communication. Engagement is centered on communication. Saying what you mean, meaning what you say and delivering it so it is received with no ambiguity is key. You don’t want your team to have to try to read between the lines to understand what you are saying to them.
Honesty and Integrity. Leaders are transparent and positive by sharing information with their teams that empowers them to act to the benefit of the organization. They understand the impact of being positive in the tone of their messaging — written, verbal and nonverbal.
Use of expertise to solve problems.
Leaders build on years of experience by using their skills to address issues facing their businesses. They are opportunistic by taking advantage of changing environmental factors to position or reposition their businesses with current and potential buyers. Leaders are delegators and don’t try to do it all themselves, but harness the skills and talents of their team.
Inspiration. Leaders inspire their teams to achieve the business’ short and long term objectives because they effectively communicate and live the vision of the organization. They motivate employees to buy-into the vision by mentoring them. They get the best from their employees by coaching them through performance issues — maximizing their strengths and addressing in a positive way their weaknesses. They give them opportunities to succeed personally for the betterment of the business. They encourage their employees to reach beyond where they are today that helps them personally but also improves the total outcome for the enterprise.
Creativity. Leaders excel when they are creative in addressing constantly changing environmental factors. They are flexible in making changes to their businesses and able to pivot the direction their enterprises are taking to address the realities of today’s ever changing business climate. They are able to make decisions without all the answers. They look at the situation facing them and think outside the box to find ways to achieve their vision and business sustainability.
If these are the factors that define a leader versus a manager, how do leaders engage their teams to produce results? Engagement lets a leader know how emotionally committed to the business the employees are and how to channel their motivation. They are committed not only to the objectives of the business, but to the values the brand represents. There is also a trickle-down impact on having employees engaged. When they show a feeling of pride in their work, customers notice it and are more satisfied. The more satisfied your customer base is, the more they will recommend and refer others to you as well as buy more from you in the future.
Connect and collaborate. Even in this pandemic period, there are ways to connect and collaborate with all of your employees. With the variety of technology available we can connect one on one or as a team. Just a check-in leads to positivity among your team, which builds on their motivation to exceed your expectations.
Engagement starts and ends with the little things. Your gestures to connect and lead don’t have to be big. It is always the small things that count. Connecting by saying thank you has longlasting impact. Creating a consistent connection by showing
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appreciation leaves your employees more committed.
Embrace difference. As a leader embracing diversity and the positivity that it results in when managing your enterprise creates and engaged workforce. When you give your employees a voice they adopt your vision, mission and objectives. The way you do this is to know your team. Know them individually. What motivates them? What are their values? Just having one-on-one conversations that don't focus on the business will enable you, as a leader, to learn what drives each of your employees so you can embrace their individuality. Because each employee is different, your leadership of them begins with each and every team member’s uniqueness. When you help each employee find their own identity, their connection to the whole is more firmly generated.
Trust is the foundation of leadership.
Showing your team you respect them for the skills they bring to the enterprise and you trust them to fulfill their end of the bargain. Giving them your trust empowers them to demonstrate the values of you project. When you share your trust, they will pay it forward with your customers so they see how your values are instilled in everyone who works in the business.
Make the work enjoyable. As a leader you need to demonstrate that the execution of the work to satisfy customer needs, wants and desires is enjoyable. Find out where each team member finds enjoyment in their work and help them focus on that, so that the mundane and not so enjoyable elements are acceptable and employees choose to remain team members rather than leave for $.25 an hour more pay. Empowering employees is the greatest way leaders can generate loyalty and commitment to the mission of the organization.
Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, certified mentor. Sourced from '8 Steps to an Engaged Team,' etimes2.com, and 'Leadership Skills List, CareerExperts,' nutcache. com. Contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands for FREE and confidential mentoring. capecod.score.org, capecodscore@ verizon.net or 508-775-4884. We go where you are!