Leadership is about inspiring and motivating people to do their best. Studies by the Gallup Organization show that employees do their best when they’re “engaged” in their work.
By “engaged” Gallup means that employees are passionate about their work, committed to the organization and the boss.
They’re focused on the purpose of the organization, they’re energetic and enthusiastic, innovative, and willing to go to great lengths to fulfill the organization’s vision and purpose. They take personal responsibility for what they do.
Don’t we all want employees like that? Don’t we want those around us to be that way? Of course we do. But many organizations settle for far less, and that’s a failure of leadership.
I’m surprised, actually amazed, at the number of people, including some high-level executives, who miss the connection between getting people to do their best, and improved profitability.
I recently met two executives from different companies, and each told me that his board is more interested in increasing sales revenue and profitability, than in increasing employee engagement.
One even said his board is more interested in the organization’s “hitting our numbers” than all that “people stuff.” Who do they think does the work of hitting the numbers? Computers? Desks?
No, it’s the people.
Some executives fail to see that taking active steps to get employees engaged and working to establish a culture focused on trust and personal responsibility are proven ways to increase productivity and profitability.
Engaged employees, the ones who consistently do their best, are just more productive and profitable.
For those who wonder how you go about getting employees engaged, the answers are in the topics from this archive of articles.
Take trust, for instance. It’s hard to do your best, if you don’t trust your managers, or co-workers, or the other departments. So it’s essential for leaders to be doing things that increase trust.
You do this through the way you speak, and the way you act. Staff meetings you run are great opportunities for doing this, but so are your day-to-day activities.
We also tend to place more trust in people who have core values. We’re more engaged when our organization has a compelling vision, when we know how our jobs fit into that vision, and when we have clear directions on how to get there.
When we communicate openly, when we’re receptive to new ideas, when we don’t have hidden agendas, and when we manage our emotions, and help others manage their emotions, we avoid emotional tsunamis.
And if we communicate our intent, by not allowing for any information vacuums, and if we try to understand the other person’s point of view, we’re communicating effectively.
If we’re doing all these things, we’re promoting trust, treating people with dignity and respect, and increasing employee engagement.
You can use all these principles for your organization, or for yourself. But it doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work, without a process that’s long-term, sustained, and reinforced.
Getting employees engaged in their work is the surest way to improve productivity and profitability. And, on an individual basis, getting yourself engaged in your work is the surest way to improve your own leadership.
But some people just don’t get it. They don’t understand the connection between engagement and profitability. Are you one of them? What are you doing to improve your leadership, and your organization?