Employee engagement continues to be a challenge for managers. Managers need to know how to open a discussion that could improve engagement. I thought I would look at one way to improve engagement, by looking at ways to uncover what your employees really want.
It has to start at the executive level.
A book I am currently reading is Todd C. Williams’ second book, Filling Execution Gaps. How Executives and Project Managers Turn Corporate Strategy into Successful Projects. It is a comprehensive dive into the complexities of successful project management. In it, Williams discusses the importance of alignment, good leadership, sponsorship and a common understanding for successful project management. Two aspects of alignment are important:
- Alignment of the values and vision of the organization with the leaders at all levels
- The alignment of people involved in projects
Having alignment with all people at all levels leads to success of the project and also to better employee engagement.
The way to get better engagement on projects is to have the right enquiry in order to learn what the gaps might be. A willingness to learn what the gaps are, results in fewer gaping holes. Employees who feel part of the process and who are valued for their input will be more aligned and engaged.
Daniel Goleman, author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, talks about alignment being essential to collaborative problem solving, another opportunity to help employees become engaged. The way he suggests that alignment can be accomplished is through having a learning mindset. This mindset gives leaders the openness to listen to the hopes and dreams of their team members, building trust and, ultimately, engagement. Being open to learning also gives managers the opportunity to raising their own self-awareness and self-management skills which can lead to breaking down barriers between themselves and their team members.
A third article that contributed to my thinking on this topic is one about learning. The Academia is looking into how to be most effective in teaching so that their students achieve real learning. The article talked about creating a learning mindset as well.
Here are the thoughts that have crystalized from these perspectives:
- Project success depends on everyone being aligned.
- Success in leading people and projects comes from enquiry
- A learning mindset will result in alignment with the people on your team
- True alignment results in employee engagement and commitment to the success of the project
Conscious daily leadership practices should steer you towards “hitting the ground learning”, as one author put it, in order to achieve alignment and engagement.
A learning mindset requires the ability to listen with empathy and the ability to engage with people so that you lead less from your position of authority or status and more from your heart and connectedness.
I can help you and your leaders become more in tune with their teams through regular coaching for skilled enquiry, better than adequate listening and the courage to explore and engage team members sincerely.
For a limited time I am offering a free coaching session where you will learn these skills and be ready to apply them immediately. Don’t delay, contact me today!