The BIG issue we have today as leaders, is that it is harder and harder to drive employee engagement. Globalization creates teams that are spread across the world, and technology keeps you buried in email.
I agree the hardest thing to do bar none for leaders today is to get up from your desk and walk away. Walk away to be with your team. But this is the most important thing you can do as a leader. Simply taking the time to do this, you will see that you are all of sudden leading a team of loyal, engaged volunteers versus a collection of hostages.
Here is my checklist for driving employee engagement by developing emotional connections with your team and building loyal, engaged volunteers:
Make time to team build. Team building is essential for leaders in business. Henry Ford once said: “you learn more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.” If you are to connect, I mean really connect with your team, you have to plan some play time. And do it often.
Building solid relationships with your team is critical for those times when you, the business or a team member is facing adversity. It’s during those times that the investment in finding a way for your team to let off some ‘steam’ will come and pay you back. When a team has bonded through play, they will be there for each other during tough times. They will be there for you too.
Find a way to build fun into your work environment. Find a way to laugh at meetings. You will discover some amazing things about your colleagues. If you build a team that has each other covered for when times are tough. You will have a renewed levels of energy, commitment, and employee engagement! You will see remarkable results.
Final words. Be real. Be authentic. Be soulful. If you are not, your team will see right through it and you will be worse off than if you stayed locked up in your office. Oh… and a word of advice… if this is new to you, and your team has rarely, if ever, seen you… go slow. If you all of a sudden charge out of the office and expect that everyone is going to throw rose petals at your feet, you will be very disappointed. Your team will be suspect at first (they might even think you have been on one of those management courses). Stick with it. As you are building the habit of being a leader that leads, your team will respond.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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