Through my 22 years of observation and experience in the recruitment industry I have noticed how much a company's engagement with its employees can depend on an individual’s leadership ability.
I have summarised some tips below on how a leader can develop this skill:
All great leaders truly care about their team. They are also accomplished in listening to all their opinions and knowing the right time to encourage so that they feel that their contributions are valued. This not only results in better work performance, it also increases their loyalty to the company. In our incredibly busy days it can be difficult to truly listen to what someone is saying to you. Having the ability to stop, focus on the moment and really concentrate on what your team member is saying is a critical skill to develop.
Cultivate a shared vision
A good leader should have the ability to attract like-minded followers so that they can create a cohesive and integrated work environment together. This does not mean everyone has to be the same or that they will not be disagreements but the best leaders will be able to guide their team to improve, and motivate them to work proactively through a shared vision of success.This will support the business initiatives which will in turn lead to more engagement and success.
Related: 5 ways to boost employee engagement
Genuinely develop your team’s skills
There is a saying: "A normal ruler will use his own skills, a more adept ruler will use the skills of others, but a truly talented ruler will be able to inspire the skill in others.”
So how do you do this? Everyone has to find their own way which suits their style. For me, I like to encourage my team to really understand themselves through 360 feedback and follow up with a particular focus on their strengths. They can utilise these to the best of their ability. This has the added benefit of people truly able to be the best possible version of themselves and hence feel genuine engagement to the business.
Help your team to find the purpose of their work
Psychologist Abraham Maslow said in his book, Maslow on Management, "what is not worth doing is not worth doing well!" Only when people believe that what they are doing is meaningful and valuable, will they experience great motivation in their work.
An excellent leader needs to know how to provide purpose and value to their team’s work. As we know, millenials seek out jobs that conform with their own personal values and strive for work-life balance. Many economists believe that in the next five years, salaries will no longer be the deciding factor in attracting talent, even in China! Recognition and being part of a collective team effort are likely to be even more important. To cultivate better engagement, leaders need to understand their employees, and their values on work, society, and leadership.
This is clearly not an exhaustive list but hopefully provides a starting point at the very least.
Great leaders know the vital skills necessary to engage their team. These include:
- Truly listening
- Cultivating a shared vision
- Genuinely developing your team’s skills
- Helping your team to find the purpose of their work