Let's first look at what an "engaging leader" is. How do they act? What do they do that is different from regular leaders? In short, an engaging leader helps create engaging employees throughout the entire organization. So, why is that important? Employee engagement as defined in the book ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations is "an emotional state where we feel passionate, energetic, and committed toward our work." Having engaged employees is something all organizations should want. Employees are inspired by their leaders, and engaged leaders set the tone in the workplace.
Often, leaders are hired or promoted based on their qualifications, experience, and track record. These characteristics consider the human aspect of leadership, but not the social aspect. Leaders who have a firm grasp on the social aspect of leadership understand that it's not only important to lead, it's also important to engage. Leaders can boost productivity by engaging with those who look up to them.
Many organizations fail to find the proper balance between management and leadership styles. It's possible that an efficient leader can achieve business metrics without enhancing their social skills. However, when leaders have these social skills in addition to other leadership qualities, they are far more likely to bring value to the entire organization.
So, how can leaders become more engaging? Here are five tips to help you become a more engaging leader.
1. Learn to be more attentive with your team.
Engaged leaders take a genuine interest in those who work for them. When someone feels valued and cared for, they become more engaged. Ask about their lives and remember what they tell you. Be the leader that encourages change in your teams and workgroups.
2. Learn to make your people feel great about themselves and their work.
When people aren't recognized, they feel they aren't valued, and morale plummets as a result. Studies have shown that the number one reason people quit their jobs is because they don't feel recognized. In today's economy, retaining hard-working employees is difficult. Don't allow a lack of recognition to be the reason for losing a great employee. Employees generally appreciate someone simply acknowledging the effort they put into their work on behalf of the company. When employees finish a project or carry out an important task, take a few minutes to show sincere appreciation.
3. Keep a positive, optimistic outlook.
This attitude is contagious! Humans thrive in an optimistic environment. They want to surround themselves with people who have positive attitudes. Research shows that positive leaders are more admired than their pessimistic counterparts. Be a role model for your team. If you continue to stay positive about your life, position, and company, others will follow suit.
4. Understand the importance of praising and recognizing employees.
Although this is the first step, you must provide feedback as well. Ensuring constructive feedback helps your people grow. Younger employees especially want frequent feedback. Providing continuous feedback creates more opportunities to give your employees suggestions to help them become more efficient. In doing so, this allows employees to showcase their talents and creativity. For feedback to be effective and provide the best results, it must be a routine task and not just a year-end review.
5. Ask employees questions and listen to them.
The perfect time to ask employees questions is when you get one-on-one moments with them. The old saying goes, "You will learn more from listening than you will from talking." Actively listening is how leaders better understand their people's wants and needs. Everyone wants to know that their opinions are heard and valued. Some employees have said they quit their jobs because they didn't feel like their leaders were listening. Engaging leaders ask questions, solicit input from their teams, practice active listening, and give constructive feedback.
Today's workplace is filled with constant change and upheaval. Leaders are constantly trying to keep workers who want to help move the organization forward. To be successful, leaders must create engagement within the workplace. If you want to become an engaged leader with an engaged workforce, it might be helpful to put these tips into practice immediately. If you start to incorporate these tips/strategies into your daily routine, they will become a habit that positively impacts the dynamic of your workforce.