You write the script, set the stage, and make up the characters. If you don’t like the story, it’s time for a rewrite. When it comes to engaging your team, you’re writing the script minute-by-minute, week-by-week.
You may have wondered what successful leaders have in common with each other that puts them at a higher performance level from others in the workplace. They may all have differing skill sets and management styles, but they all share a sophisticated understanding of the power behind nonverbal intelligence skills. Even simple habits or acts can result in a strong impression on others. This point is critical; that your every action makes a difference in how you communicate with others and how they respond to you. Your vocal tone, mirroring others’ behaviors, sloppy speaking and pronunciation are just a few of the skills that can place you at the top, or the bottom, of performance measures.
Lee Colan, author of Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees: How to Ignite Passionate Performance for Better Business Results, is the author of 10 books and an expert in personal, team and organizational leadership. In addition to 25+ years of hands-on industry and consulting experience, Lee earned Masters and Doctoral degrees in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. So I thought I’d tap his experience and knowledge to offer guidance.
Q. Lee, tell us about the prevailing themes in leadership right now.
A. I’m a big believer in stepping back and looking at broader trends. Over the past year, we have been seeing engagement concerns coming to the surface again. In the previous six months, we were seeing plenty of resources out there, because of supply and demand.
For example, if you are walking through the desert and see a puddle, you still are in the middle of the desert. Essentially, the broader trend is that there is much more demand than there is supply (of qualified employees). The leaders who are being proactive right now realize that there is still a desert, so they are focused on acquiring and engaging good talent.
Q. How are organizations handling employee development differently than in the past?
A. Many companies are looking for workers who are further along in their careers. Employers are wondering how to effectively tap into them; maybe it’s not a traditional structure, but leaders are trying to soak some knowledge from them. Even though the young leaders are there with their energy, organizations don’t want to lose the skills and experience of the older employees.
Q. Why are leaders grappling with employee engagement?
A. They know the concept, but are wondering what to do; the “how to” of employee engagement seems overwhelming or at best, unclear. This applies across the board.
Essentially, people are trying to deal with continuous, rapid change. Envision going into the ocean, where you get hit with one wave, and before you stand up, another one hits you again. This environment means that rapid learning and immediate application are important.
Lee has shared the leadership theme, thoughts on employee development, and why leaders are grappling with engagement. Picture yourself as a writer. They write over time... some today, some tomorrow, some the next day. As a business leader, you should do the same. Think about your team today and take action, think more tomorrow, take more action, etc. Also, you could treat engagement like a financial investment where you’ll gain the effect of compounding – and if you start early in your business career, you can gain large returns. Additionally, just like saving and investing, you can start engaging your team today, wherever you are in the journey, and end this year strong.
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