How to Engage and Motivate Your People

engaged leader and team Are you finding it a challenge to engage and motivate your people?

According to Gallup (2013), only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, and one quarter of employees report that they are actively disengaged.

The costs of this situation are profound in terms of lost productivity, reduced sales and profitability and the cost of replacing employees.

And not to mention the internal dis-ease, lack of fulfillment and unhappiness and disempowerment the ‘disengaged employee’ – a person who could be a ‘valued’ member of the team must be experiencing.



How to engage and mobilize remains a top frustration

Not surprisingly, many leaders of both large and small organizations report that one of their top frustrations is about how they can engage their employees better.

This can feel like a daunting and onerous challenge.

Large spans of control 

This situation is not completely the fault of management. In some large international organizations, spans of control have become so large that managers have to complete another formal performance reviews every three or four days.

Technically oriented managers and leaders

For my technical clients such as IT, finance, engineering, the whole gambit of ‘soft skills’ including rapport building, effective communication, powerful conversations which motivate and mobilize don’t come easy as this is not a natural strength.



Lack of ongoing, regular  feedback

For instance, many employees are frustrated because they feel like they have to read their manager’s mind. They don’t know how they are doing and how they can do better.

The annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out, and that event is so stressful and formal that the environment is not conducive for improvements. 


Engaging and mobilizing employees is not rocket science and the solutions might be simpler than you think.

There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. They cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact.

For instance, one opportunity that many leaders have – even at the C-level – is to give more frequent, informal feedback about how each employee is doing.

Coachable moments’ are there all the time!

That way, everyone in an organization knows what is expected of them and how they can get better.

These following proven simple questions and behaviors can have a significant impact.



Andrew Neitlich, Founder and Director of The Center for Executive Coaching highlights that there are seven simple questions every leader must answer and communicate to employees.

And frequency counts!

Brief, informal coaching conversations about performance go a long way – especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details.


The Seven Questions:

  1. What do I expect from you?
  2. What are you doing well?
  3. What, if anything, can you be doing better?
  4. What, if anything, do I want you to do better?
  5. (If appropriate): What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments)?
  6. (If appropriate): What will happen if you don’t improve?
  7. How can I help?


While all of these questions are important, the last question is especially important.

I have also had many clients report back on the often ‘surprised’ reaction of their employee when asked question seven and how this established a new turn and pathway to building a more fulfilled and trusted relationship.

It shows the employee that the leader cares, and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame.

And not surprisingly, where it hasn’t worked, is where the employee has opted to leave the organization. Everyone wins.


For more information about engaging and mobilizing employees, and to take our free self-assessment about how well you are engaging and mobilising, contact me – +64 27 280 3335 or

P.S. Article written in conjunction with Andrew Neitlich.

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