The first part of this article is published here.
What’s the difference between leaders who inspire a high level of employee engagement and ones who struggle to get people to do the bare minimum their jobs require?
The secret lies in knowing how to lead from the heart outwards.
Successful leaders inspire their team by communicating their vision in a way that generates excitement and motivates others to jump on board with full commitment. They recognize potential in their people, coach their team members to go above and beyond, and routinely acknowledge others’ positive contributions.
And while they demand accountability from the people they lead, they also hold themselves accountable for their performance as well.
Here are more heart-centered tips on how to boost employee engagement in your company and create a culture of success:
4. Coach them to take leadership roles
Coaching people into action and helping them develop their own leadership skills means you not only get to share decision making, you also build a team of smart, confident, and self-directed people who can respond quickly to changing conditions and circumstances. And this will make your own life so much easier.
The key lies in the word coaching. Through deep listening and skillful questioning, you can help others discover their own solutions to problems and opportunities. Instead of being the only person figuring out what to do next, you can help them develop their own problem-solving skills and come up with their own solutions.
Not only does this engage them more fully in the process, it creates more time and space for you to focus on what you need to do to accomplish your vision.
5. Encourage constant improvement
If you’ve read The Success Principles, you’ll know that I encourage people to commit to constant and never-ending improvement. This is something you should encourage in your own team to increase employee engagement and get them to take a leadership role in helping you achieve your vision.
This is especially true in today’s ever-changing world, where new technologies, manufacturing techniques, and marketing tools are announced nearly every month. Improvement is necessary not only to survive, but to thrive.
Meet with your employees regularly so you have a good idea of what their strengths, skills gaps, and interests are. Encourage them to take control of their own career development – and then help them create personalized improvement paths that will benefit them personally while increasing their value to the company. Then provide the budget and time necessary to help them achieve their goals.
Not only will this improve their ability to contribute to their vision, it will earn their gratitude and loyalty toward both you and the company as a whole.
6. Always have their backs
When it comes right down to it, you can’t inspire employee engagement without earning their loyalty first. The best way to inspire loyalty is to make sure your employees know you are always looking out for their best interests.
If you’re inconsistent with your approach or style, allow your employees to take the brunt of a customer’s or CEO’s displeasure, take credit for their work or neglect to celebrate their successes in a public way that encourages the whole company to recognize their value – they will have a hard time trusting you.
And without trust, there is no loyalty and zero motivation to do their best.
7. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
The key to being self-aware as a leader is a willingness to be wrong, to not know everything, to recognize that you have certain biases, and to see where your opinions may be simply getting in the way. No one has all the answers, and great leaders admit there is always plenty to learn. They encourage honest feedback – and take it to heart.
When you are willing to admit your own mistakes and genuinely listen to critical feedback – without rationalizing, justifying, or placing blame – you get to turn these moments into learning opportunities for yourself and “teachable moments” for your team. You create a more open and collaborative culture among your team members – without the pressure or fear of anyone pretending to know it all.
And that kind of authenticity and transparency is the best possible foundation on which to build a culture of success.
Exceptional leaders aren’t born that way. They become exceptional by developing a unique set of attitudes and skills that are both learnable and teachable.
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