Most organizations have an impressive catalog of leadership training offerings, but strong leadership in today’s market is about getting real — engaging with employees and demonstrating authentic leadership.
A lot of organizations are realizing that this can make the difference between employee compliance and commitment and has a direct impact on employee performance and churn. It can even have a direct impact on customers. After all, employee satisfaction is usually translated to the experience your customers have with your business.
Here are three effective strategies for engaging with employees and winning their hearts and minds:
Connecting with Employees
Making connections isn’t complex and doesn’t require special skills. The challenge is recognizing that you need to engage and consciously finding opportunities to do so. Sometimes day-to-day habits (multitasking during conversations, constantly checking your BlackBerry, etc.) put up walls and create barriers with those around us. Doing these things screams, “I’m too busy!” or “You’re not important!”
Be intentional about making connections. Demonstrate your attention through words, actions, and nonverbal communication. Simple actions like actively listening can be a difference maker. As you think about what lies ahead today, seek out easy ways to engage with the people who cross your path.
Appreciation and recognition are powerful tools. The simple act of “thank you” or sharing positive recognition makes people feel valued and is a sign from you that you care. It’s not enough to think it—you must effectively communicate your appreciation and recognition. And when you do show appreciation, make it count. Simply saying, “good job” won’t make an impact and will potentially have a negative effect. Be specific about what you appreciate and make it meaningful and genuine by including a personal quality.
Don’t forget to include a variety of ways to recognize employees (find out what they prefer). Make it your mission to consistently show your appreciation and recognition of employees. Start by identifying at least three employees to appreciate today.
Communicating with Clarity and Consistency
We all know that compensation is one of the top motivators for employees. Recent studies have shown that another key motivator is “being in the know.” Employees want to feel like they have a clear picture of what’s happening in the organization. Strengthen your team by regularly sharing information, which sometimes means communicating it more than once and in different settings.
Also, while sharing information is important, the way you communicate your message is even more critical. Have you ever experienced a time when your communication has been misinterpreted or had a different impact than what you intended? Invest the time in planning what you mean to say and consider the effect that your message will have on your employees. Always monitor your tone and ensure that your message links to the bigger picture and the “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me?) factor for employees.
While this seems like simple stuff, there is a real need for more authentic leadership.
Source:Amy Fox is President and CEO of Accelerated Business Results.