Engagement is a leader’s number one job.
If your team is not engaged, then performance and results will suffer.
Here are 4 simple things you can do to start to increase engagement today.
Yep, that’s right, smile more!
When you smile more, you create a more positive atmosphere
which will result in a more positive attitude in both yourself and your teams.
When you smile more it builds a stronger connection with your teams
and makes you more approachable.
Smiling is contagious when you smile at someone they will smile back
and when people smile it has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
On a biochemical level, smiling releases endorphins, and serotonin.
Endorphins are natural painkillers. The more endorphins your brain releases,
the more your body can fight off symptoms of illness.
Similarly, serotonin is a brain chemical that acts as a natural anti-depressant,
which can help reduce stress.
It also makes you appear more approachable,
and people love to feel connected to their leaders.
Smile at everyone too; cleaning staff, security, sales team, receptionists, everyone,
not just your direct reports or your boss. Make smiling an authentic part of who you are.
Oh! And the good news is, that no special degrees or MBAs are needed to do this.
When you listen more, you show your teams respect, you show that you value them and their opinion. All of which help build trust and respect for you as a leader. You don’t always have to take the advice or input given, but when you listen you make the teams feel more involved, and when they become involved then they become more committed. I don’t just mean being attentive in meetings, I’m talking about taking the time to listen to people even in informal settings, maybe in the staff canteen, or whilst getting a coffee.
As an added bonus you might actually hear something of value as the people on the front lines often know more than the managers about what is going on, and where the issues that need to be addressed are.
When I have shown that I am someone who is approachable and prepared to listen I often find that people will come to me with valuable information to give me a chance to address an issue before it becomes a major problem.
Three of the most important things you can do to engage your team are Communicate, Communicate and Communicate. But don’t just tell your teams what you want them to do, tell them why it’s important. Help them understand the purpose and importance of what they are doing, and if possible why it should be important to them. The more people understand what they have to do, and why, the higher the probability that they will be successful. And don’t just tell people once, if it’s important be sure to repeat your messages, and this will underline its importance. Communicate your company's goals, communicate your company's performance against those goals, and communicate their contribution and do this regularly.
When you communicate frequently more people feel more involved, they feel more involved, and that is important to the success of the company which will help increase their commitment and involvement.
Everyone wants to feel like they are doing a good job, and that they have contributed to the success of the company, and praise is a simple way to do this. It helps boost people's self-esteem, which according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is one of our basic needs.
Praise can be as simple as saying well done, good job, thank you. It doesn’t need to be a major event, but even small recognition can have a major impact on the people who receive it. One of my favorite quotes on praise is “what gets recognized gets repeated” which means that not only will your team feel positive because of the praise they have received but they will be likely to repeat the feat as they know it has been seen and valued.
I always like to use the PRAISE model to increase the impact of praise by making the praise Public; Recognising their contribution; being Authentic; giving praise Immediately not waiting for an annual review or a monthly newsletter; being Specific, the more specific the praise the more sincere it sounds; and lastly being Enthusiastic, enthusiasm is contagious and it highlights how much you value their contribution.
The best news about praise is that it costs absolutely nothing, you have an unlimited supply of good jobs and well done for everyone, and the return on that investment can be amazing.
Just doing these four simple things, right now, will make you more respected, trusted, engaging, and inspiring to your team, all of which will improve your leadership and the results your team will generate.