Engagement of Extraordinary Leaders

How many leaders love to come to work every day truly passionate about their organization, their vision, values, the people who work for them, and how they see themselves fitting in the organization? The topic of “Employee Engagement” is a struggle for most CEOs. It is unacceptable for leaders to be absent from the connections of the organization and focus on other things outside of the organization.

While many leaders simply blame disengagement of employees, progressive leaders find ways to build a culture to over employee disengagement. The responsibility for productivity and profitability rests on the shoulders of leadership, and so does the responsibility to overcome employee disengagement.

Instead of focusing on employee engagement, let’s look at focusing on the engagement of leaders. Creating employee engagement is just as important to an organization as leadership engagement. This is what drives employee engagement into high or low gear. Depending on how you lead, which one are you?

Leaders try putting yourself in your employee’s shoes. Think for a moment- Do you feel engaged and happy with the work you are doing? Do you enjoy interacting with co-workers, and feel that your leaders are listening to employees? Do you feel appreciated?

Engagement can flourish where leaders have taken active steps to improve it. Engaged employees begins and ends with leaders. Leaders must work hard to create an engaged workforce with these objectives:

  • Align efforts with strategy
  • Empower employees
  • Promote and encourage teamwork and collaboration
  • Help employees grow
  • Develop extraordinary skills and mindset of employees
  • Provide support and recognition when appropriate

Leaders adhering to these will find the more engaged employees are, the more these employees will align themselves with the organization and help improve its bottom line. Engaged employees will take pride in their work, put forth more effort in their daily tasks and perform at higher performance levels.

The key to employee engagement is developing leadership skills in all employees. In order to build an extraordinary organization, you must have great leaders at all levels.

Building Trust

Trust is an essential ingredient in increasing engagement. People do not know how trustworthy you are until you demonstrate it by using trust building behaviors. Some of these include being honest with others, communicating openly with others, showing respect, create transparency (letting others verify what you tell them), admitting when you are wrong), deliver on what you say you will do, clarify expectations, be accountable and responsible, and listening openly to others.

Crystallized Compelling Vision

By ensuring everyone is clear on the goals set, the engagement leader encourages employees to communicate their understanding of the goals before motivating employees in taking the right actions to take to move the process successfully to the next level. This make take place is re-structuring existing strategies or adding more.

Alignment

Engaged employees feel more aligned with their organization and their leaders as they see the connection between what they do and the success of the organization. The effective leader understands that gaining their team’s commitment to the organization increase the team’s performance. This is a reflection of the engaged leader moving their employees and organization in the same direction.

Team Development

Effective leaders understand the potential for significant increases in performance through high performing teams. They make sure all team members are using their strengths to produce great/extraordinary/remarkable results in the work they do. They focus on team members using their maximum potential (critical thinking skills, beliefs and mindset) in terms of being extraordinary.

All of these skills are needed to fully engaged employees. Engagement will be diminished if any employee is missing. The challenge for the leader is to develop skills of employees so they are dependent on each other as well as if someone is missing, another team member can do that job.

Listening

One sign of a good, even a great leader is the ability to listen. This includes being open with others in allowing others to ask questions and in their giving you feedback that does not have a backlash to them. You may not have all the answers to the questions asked of you, so have the person who ask these questions get back to you with the answers they find.

Taking Action

Focusing on what needs to be done, engaged extraordinary leaders sometimes need to take risks to adopt a new framework to not just be successful, but to thrive beyond expectations. They want each team member to understand what they are going to accomplish. If they have any issues with anything, they can discuss them with the leader or first with other co-workers using their critical thinking skills.

The level of employee engagement is a consequence of what their leaders do, leaders want to: Communicate clear expectations by setting clear goals and make sure team members understand what is expected of them. They will be held accountable and responsible for what they do.

Engaged leaders energize their employees as they show how to make changes required reaching the vision they set out to meet. They know how to get their employees involved in working toward their vision with commitment and passion. This is where many good leaders forfeit their change to a legacy of greatness. Engaged leaders establish trust and demonstrate integrity by removing barriers encountered by their teams to accomplish what needs to be done.

By creating an engagement strategy, engaged leaders know how to sustain their leadership effectiveness by interacting with employees and having them give honest feedback without any backlash for what they say. Since leadership engagement generates employee engagement, what shifts can you make to move your employees toward being extraordinary? This in turn takes your existing processes and strategies

A fully engaged leader engages themselves in their vision, values, strategy, culture and the execution of getting these done to accommodate their employees being engaged. As a leader, you must demonstrate your engagement to inspire and motivate your employees to generate great/extraordinary/remarkable results.

Work with your employees in creating their great/extraordinary/remarkable skills and abilities in order to create the breakthrough strategies that keep your organization thriving beyond just surviving.

One thought on “Engagement of Extraordinary Leaders

  1. Hi Neal,

    This should be shared with all leaders – I have only every seen one person fulfill the majority of what you have written and (from my perspective) they had a fully (bar a few) engaged workforce who really pulled together as a team (that was my perception although our market share did grow as did the share match plan).

    I also think there are many ‘leaders’ who come into the role because they fill a gap of right expertise eg: lobbying or building relationships externally, but without many of the above skills (which I believe can be learned) – as a result there will be those who are good at developing business or getting ministers onside, yet hide in ivory towers and can’t understand why the workforce appears to be against them. It would be great to see potential leaders are talent managed and developed into leadership roles effectively so they can engage their employees. Having said that a lot of learning including innovation and resilience must result from being thrown in the deep end that some leaders find themselves in.

    I’ll be interested to read further comments.

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