- As a manager, you have a responsibility to build others up. Obviously, there's a business case for doing so. Helping others achieve their potential yields all kinds of measurable outcomes that affect the bottom line, like productivity, innovation, and customer satisfaction. I think it's important to remember that building others up also reflects well on you. One sign that top executives look for is whose team is thriving and excelling. They know that this indicates a manager that has high potential for future opportunities. As a manager, you want to intentionally motivate and engage your team.
Recent research has clearly demonstrated key factors that inspire people. Let's first look at motivation. Studies in psychology and human potential show us that all humans are motivated by three driving forces, in ranking order. 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 health care, and have job security. When this level is tended to, we can focus more energy on the second level, which is the need to belong.
This includes our social needs of having friends 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 then focus on the highest level, which is the need to achieve or 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, compelling 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.
Now let's look at engagement. Engagement is the level of positive attachment employees feel toward their job and the organization, which serves as profound motivator for productivity and growth. Studies show that the top causes of employee disengagement are: feeling invisible because efforts are not measured or recognized; the job or workplace is not as expected; there's little to no feedback or coaching and there's no access to professional development; they're overworked and stressed out; and, there's a lack of trust or confidence in the senior leaders.
So engaging employees obviously involves tending to these issues. It's not just a one-shot deal; it's how they're treated on a daily basis. This includes hiring people into the right positions, making sure job descriptions match real work expectations, providing training and development, and having a performance management process that accurately measures contributions. But the true spirit of engaging employees lives in the relationships managers build with their people. Here's some specific strategies to use for building a culture of employee engagement through individual relationships: First, get to know your people individually.
Focus on the whole person and not just their work life. Learn more about their strengths, skills, and their styles for work, communication, conflict, and leadership. Learn more about who they are as people through your observations, interactions, and discussions. Consider what you know about their values, experiences, needs and priorities. Second, use your one-on-one meetings to not only discuss performance but actively support their professional development plans. Make sure that their interests and ultimate career goals are a regular part of your check-ins.
Regularly provide coaching and training to enhance their skills and keep an eye out for relevant opportunities, like being assigned to a project or committee. Third, use appreciative inquiry to bring out their best. Appreciative inquiry is based on the idea that, instead of focusing on our flaws or weaknesses, you want to focus on people's strengths and successes. To use appreciative inquiry, you ask a person or a team about their successes, times when they've really excelled at something or had a peak performance. Then you explore what set that apart.
The goal is to find ways to translate that success to other performances. Finally, celebrate successes, both large and small. Do this with individuals and with the group. People are most motivated when they're moving towards something and have a sense of their progress, rather than having their failing highlighted. When employees feel respected and empowered, they can face challenges with a collaborative spirit and positive attitude. As a manager, consider how you can use these ideas to motivate and engage your people. The benefits to your organization are numerous.
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- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.