The vitality of a company’s success lies in its workforce and specifically in the development of its leaders. Having engaged leaders could be the difference between a good company and an unmistakable company.
Unfortunately, workforces are increasingly disengaged. According to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report, about 70 percent of employees are disengaged at work. While having a workforce that is overwhelmed due to lack of resources and generally indifferent about their jobs is concerning, it isn’t an unsolvable problem.
In fact, with a few tweaks to the overall strategy, the organizational environment can foster more capable leaders. With that said, to create more engagement, boost the overall organizational mood and foster a more pleasant experience, start by implementing these four strategies.
- Empower Employees by Giving Them Influence
Infuse a sense of autonomy into the company DNA. Creating a sense of autonomy was shown in a 2011 study published in Health Promotion International to improve worker satisfaction and productivity. By granting your employees more autonomy and freedom, you’re preventing the likelihood of boredom with their responsibilities. While empowering your employees and granting them more autonomy is helpful, there’s one more key ingredient that will be of use — putting them in new positions of influence.
Carrying out this strategy not only provides a novel experience, but it also allows employees to grow and discover their own potential along the way. Instead of feeling the urge to micromanage or step in, demonstrate trust by allowing them to figure out the specific issue. Creating more engaged leaders happens when they know they have your complete trust along with feeling a sense of responsibility toward the specific company outcomes.
- Emphasize Mental and Emotional Well-being Training Programs
Around 8.3 million adults suffer from some sort of stress within their everyday life. The American Psychological Association reported in their 2017 “Stress in America” report that 61 percent of Americans reported work being their top stressor. With increasing demands and workloads, uncertainty about job security and a varied concoction of personalities at work — stress is unavoidable. This leads to higher incidences of disengagement, lower levels of energy and a lack of motivation.
While companies have greatly improved their well-being initiatives, far too many are leaving out the mental and emotional components. If you mention wellness, the average person is most likely to think of nutrition and getting more exercise. But wellness is about much more than that.
Creating initiatives that teach employees how to manage their stress while building resiliency is a critical aspect of a leader’s overall energy and everyday performance. To gather the pulse of a leader’s mental and emotional state, create open channels of communication with no judgment. Also, create new policies that revolve around stress and fatigue, as they are deeply intertwined. For example, offer flexible starting times to accommodate those who aren’t morning people, buffer mental recharge days into benefits with no explanation needed and offer paid time off instead of sick leaves.
- Create Individual Personal and Professional Development Plans
Ensuring that each leader can maximize their growth and navigate the modern work culture starts with committing to an individual development plan. While focusing on professional needs is a given, it’s important to remember the personal side. A fully optimized leader will have work and life coexisting seamlessly.
To start this development plan, talk with each of your employees to get a clearer understanding of where they see themselves headed inside the company. While meeting with them, discuss their biggest obstacles. This will allow you to invest in more precise and effective trainings, as opposed to merely guessing what would be useful. In the big picture, have your leaders come up with three personal and professional goals. Next, have them break it down into more manageable metrics such as quarterly and monthly benchmarks.
- Effectively Communicate and Connect Your Mission to Your Employees
One of the biggest factors for creating and cultivating a high energy workforce is to create a sense of community and camaraderie. This starts by effectively communicating at all levels. Employees need to know the purpose behind their work and where the company is headed. Only then can you specifically break down how each of their contributions is valuable.
Here a few things to keep in mind when creating more energy, meaning and engagement within leaders:
- Has the purpose of the company been effective shared?
- Do they clearly see the connection to their work and how it serves others?
- Have you given your leaders a chance to see and reflect on their past successes?
- Do you recognize and reward their efforts (not just their results)?
- Do you regularly discuss the reasoning for new tasks, policies and initiatives?
Changing your leader’s paradigm requires a return to the basics and a focus on the small details that tend to be overlooked.