Effective leaders motivate and engage all of the people who are connected to the organization. This not only includes the employees at every level, from front line to the executives, but also the customers and other stakeholders like investors and board members. Let's first look at motivation. Research in psychology and human potential show us that humans are motivated by three driving forces. In ranking order, these are first, the need for physical survival and safety. This includes the most basic necessities, from air, food, and water, to our more modern versions of being able to buy a home, afford healthcare, and have job security. When this level is tended to, we can focus more energy on the next level, which is, the need to belong.
This includes the social needs of having friends, family and loved ones, and being able to spend quality time with them. In addition, this level includes our sense of achievement and competence in professional settings. When this level is tended to, we can focus on the highest level, which is the need to achieve our full potential. Humans are drawn to becoming the best they can be. This not only includes personal excellence but also expressing and appreciating creativity, as well as making a difference in the lives of others. In fact, research has shown that when the other levels are met, humans are most motivated by having autonomy, developing mastery, and contributing to a meaningful purpose.
Organizations are also most successful when their people can be focused on the top level, achieving their full potential. This not only unleashes the highest levels of their skills and intelligence, but also supports an ever growing and improving workforce, because we're innately drawn towards self-improvement. Now let's look at engagement. Engagement is the level of positive attachment employees feel toward their job and organization, which serves as a profound motivator for productivity and growth. Interestingly, research has shown that the ten causes of employee disengagement are: Feeling invisible. Our efforts are not measured or recognized. The work you do seems irrelevant.
The job or workplace is not as you expected. The job doesn't fit your talent or interest. You receive little to no feedback or coaching. You don't have access to professional development programs. You dont' see a viable career path. You feel overworked and stressed out. And you don't trust or have confidence in the senior leaders. So engaging employees obviously involves tending to these issues. And it's not just a one shot deal. It has to be an organizational value that drives various aspects of how employees are treated on a daily basis.
This includes a variety of policies and practices like hiring people into the right positions, making sure job descriptions match real work expectations. Providing training and development, and having performance review systems that accurately measure contributions. But the true spirit of engaging employees lives in the relationships that leaders build with their people. Here are some specific strategies to use for building a culture of employee engagement through individual relationships. First make a point of getting to know people individually.
Focus on the whole person and not just their work life. Remember whose daughter is leaving for college, whose beloved pet just passed away, and who is making an offer on a new home. This shows that you genuinely care about them. Second, use your one on one meetings to not only discuss performance but actively support the professional development plans. Make sure that their interests and ultimate career goals are a regular part of your check-ins. Third, regularly provide coaching and training to enhance their skills. Fourth, keep an eye out for relevant opportunities. Advocate for them to be able to projects or committees that will help them with their development goals.
When employees feel respected and empowered they can face challenges with a collaborative spirit and positive attitude. Let's look at some strategies to use for engaging a group or a team. First, be clear about what is happening and about what goals you expect the group to achieve. Second, always share the business case for why things are happening. When you give the group the bigger picture, you first demonstrate trust and you also harness their intelligence and talent to solve the problem. Third, express your faith in the team by allowing them to generate their own solutions to the problem.
They'll think of things you did not see and this will lead to better ideas and decisions. Fourth, help the group identify what support they need and do your best to deliver that support. You want to facilitate their success in whatever ways that you can. Finally, celebrate successes both large and small with individuals and the group. People are most motivated when they're moving towards something and have a sense of their progress, rather than having their failings highlighted. As a leader, consider how you can use these ideas to motivate and engage your people. The benefits to your organization are numerous.
- What is leadership, and when are you leading?
- Mapping your leadership competencies
- Dealing with changing scope and stakes
- Motivating and engaging others
- Increasing team performance
- Developing political acumen
- Creating a culture of trust and integrity
- Developing resilience<br><br>
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