Getting your employees to engage fully with their working roles is a challenge – and your habits as a leader could be promoting disconnection, writes Omer Khan for Entrepreneur.
Figures from a Gallup study show that only 30% of people arrive at work aiming to do a great job. It’s a culture that can’t fail to have a negative effect on your business. On the other hand, studies show that organisations with properly engaged workers have profits on average 27% higher, as well as 38% better productivity.
SO, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Accept that it could be you; employees who respect their leader, and feel respected in return, are much more likely to engage with their work. How well you listen and respond to their ideas and opinions is a key factor in determining whether they take to you or despise you.
Certain traits you project can have a massive effect on how valued they feel and, in return, how much they want to please you.
FIVE UNHELPFUL BEHAVIOURS
Khan has isolated the following habits commonly found in managers with a disengaged staff:
1) A defensive attitude when criticised. If you immediately try to argue against any feedback points your employees make, you are giving a clear message that you think you are never wrong. What is their incentive for offering their opinion again? Even when people are angry or aggressive, you need to demonstrate that you are listening; their emotional response shows how much it means to them.
2) Not giving your full attention when critiquing an employee’s project. When you feed back to someone on a piece of work, it will show if you have skimmed over their efforts, rather than properly engaging.
Khan cites an example where Ryan Peck, the founder of Cold Email Kings, gave feedback suggesting his employee do things that were clearly already addressed, had he read the article thoroughly. This is an attitude that can seriously damage relationships.
3) Chipping in crucial facts after a job has been done. How frustrating is it to finish a project to then find out you weren’t given all the necessary information? Employees facing this situation will lose trust. Take time to make sure they are well equipped to do the job you ask them to do.
4) Dictating the method as well as the desired result. Everyone has their own most comfortable way of working. If it leads to the same outcome, why shouldn’t employees use their own strategy for a project, rather than follow your exact methods?
5) Pushing a vision people can’t connect with. If you decide autonomously on a vision for your organisation and keep singing its praises, there’s a good chance some people won’t share it. Motivate employees by letting them have a say about what that vision should be.
Employee satisfaction is a tough thing to secure; how they feel about you, as their leader, has a major impact. Take an honest look at your behaviour and see how small changes of attitude could make a difference.