If you were to pause and take a reading on the current levels of engagement in your team, what might you discover? How engaged are your people in the work they are doing? Are they fully engaged in doing what is fundamental to your business success? Or worse, are they disengaged or even actively disengaged?
Whether you are shaping an organization culture, implementing a new strategy, building a high performance team or an employment brand that people love to be part of, high levels of engagement are critical to driving superior organizational performance. Well-regarded survey firms such as Gallup have found that there is positive correlation between superior organizational performance and high levels of employee engagement.
Many of the factors fostering high levels of engagement tend to be more subtler requiring greater understanding of EQ (emotional intelligence) and SQ (spiritual intelligence – meaning, purpose, alignment) Unfortunately these skills are the very things that get ignored by ‘already busy managers’ who don’t give this enough importance until it is too late.
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Take my executive coaching client, Bill, as an example (not his real name). Bill was an exceptionally bright and hugely talented individual in his technical sphere. And because of this, he had been promoted to lead the charge in the context of major organizational change. When I first met Bill, he was busy working out the big picture and plan all by himself. What he had overlooked was that his team members, who were eager to contribute, weren’t even ‘in the field’ with him.
The predominant sentiment from his direct reports was that he did not seem interested in their ideas and contribution and also that he was uncomfortable sharing ideas and information with them. Furthermore, Bill’s high need for control, hand in hand with an abrupt, impatient manner also didn’t facilitate ease of communication or nurture high levels of trust. Naturally Bill’s people did not feel valued and feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration were bubbling away just under the surface.
Bill had been so intent in meeting the business objectives that he had ignored utilizing and engaging the talent of his people in building a strong, competent and high performing team.
It was a poignant moment of truth for Bill when he received his 360-degree feedback and engagement scores. While his role had changed to that of a senior manager, Bill’s mind-set was still that of a technical manager and specialist. The dawning realization was “I can’t carry on this way.” Bill subsequently embarked on an exciting and rewarding journey of learning to step out of his comfort zone and develop a greater depth of understanding and skills in competencies that he had previously discounted.
It would be easy to write Bill off as an extreme example but what about you? As a manager and leader are you getting the best out of your people? Which of your behaviours, values or attitude might be enabling or casting a barrier in growing high performing and engaged individuals and team?
If you were to do something (which you may have been ignoring) and which could make a difference to greater levels of engagement, what might this be?