Does your team have the combination of characteristics exhibited by highly engaged teams?
An engaged group of employees can differentiate between high and low-performance levels. Here are five fundamental practices that can build the combination of characteristics you may be looking for to crack your team's engagement code:
Cultivate: Cultivating a positive/healthy environment is critical to building a foundation for an engaged team. The positivity and healthiness of an environment can act as an immune system to fend off bad habits and derailing behaviors. Create a culture of learning along with a sense of ownership for one's development. Empower the voice of your employees by being a great listener. Listen with the intent to utilize some of the thoughts and ideas they provide you. Establish a recognition system that reinforces the behaviors you want from your employees. Be a student of mistakes, whether your own or others, to ensure the team knows that mistakes are a part of the process and how to use them to promote learning and development.
Organize: Organizing yourself, and others provide a structure around the foundation you are beginning to cultivate. You formulate the game plan in the organization phase by clearly stating goals, objectives, and expectations. As you set your team up for success, build a combination of tools and resources to eliminate roadblocks on the path toward achievement. Having the necessary tools and resources helps foster a culture where productivity is optimal and efficiency is a shared mindset.
Apply and Practice: Applying and practicing your skills act as a building block and sustainment mechanism that continuously supports the engaged environment you put in place. When you demonstrate what you expect, it visually brings to life how you want behaviors executed and altogether connects the verbal, written, and visual communication of expectations. Respect your craft; you never know it all. Continuously seek out opportunities to learn and fine-tune your skills. Keep an open mind to learning, and you will be amazed at how well you reinvent yourself.
Care: Caring genuinely for your team is where you can establish a high level of trust and confidence with your team. Show interest in your employees as a person first. This approach can enable you to have a more significant impact on the employee. When engaging with your employees, look to avoid canned questions that get you one-word responses. Try something that gets you details and allows you to ask a detail-oriented follow-up question so you establish a meaningful connection with your employees.
Hold yourself and others accountable: Holding yourself and others accountable course corrects when behaviors may veer too far to the left or too far to the right of the expectations established in your engaged environment. However, accountability is also about recognizing the team when behaviors stay aligned with or exceed expectations. It is important to inspect what you expect by consistently following up with your team promptly and following through on your commitments.
Ultimately, the combination you need to unlock the engagement of your team starts and ends with you. Be purposeful with your communication, as it acts as a superpower; tap into that power responsibly. Demonstrate patience and flexibility, as it will help you navigate the landmines that await throughout the engagement building and sustainment process.
How have you unlocked the engagement of your team? Let's start conversations. Share your stories of success and tips for employee engagement drivers below.