Engagement begins with leaders
As a leader, it is your job to educate the entire organization from top down, clearly identifying the path ahead
Let’s face it—it’s still tough out there. Most organizations today have weathered this challenging economy, with recovery and growth slower than we all would like it to be. But you made it and are now dealing with the massive changes that have taken place and are working hard to ensure your organization stays on course for continued success. As a leader in today’s business environment, you are in the energy business—the human energy business.
It’s not all bad news. As a business survivor, you have set new, exciting strategies to propel your organization towards opportunity and inevitable future change. It’s a long journey and strong leaders understand that this is a critical time to galvanize their team and ensure their employees are active participants in creating and sustaining the momentum. To be successful, it’s imperative that leaders create a culture of new energy and excitement—engagement—within the organization.
What is the leader’s role?
When focusing on engagement, it’s important to understand who in the organization is really ready and who may need some help moving forward. During times like these, a certain pattern of behavior sets into many organizations. Generally, the leaders creating strategy are living in the future, concentrated on trends six months out. They are looking at the next quarter’s timeframe. Workers primarily function in the present, concentrating on accomplishing the key tactics of the day-to-day. Many workers find it difficult to shift into the mindset of future strategy and need time to process.
As a leader, it is your job to educate the entire organization from top down, clearly identifying the path ahead. The challenge is to continue to move forward with your employees feeling more than just clear and confident about the strategy and direction, but also excited and invigorated about the potential. As a leader in today’s business environment, you are in the energy business—the human energy business. You are called to build a sense of engagement, helping employees realize the growth potential for the organization, the team and themselves.
It’s important to understand what we mean by engagement. Energy, not time, is the currency of engagement. Engagement is the combination of the perception of changes and events happening around you and the level of energy experienced. So, highly engaged people have a positive perception of changes going on around them and they put a high level of energy into their work and everything else they do.
The purpose of a leader is to engage others in committing their full energy to the creation of value and success. As a leader, it is critical that you understand the concept so you can help employees proactively commit their energy to the organization and themselves.
The employee’s role
While you cannot engage people; people choose to be engaged or not. Your role is to create the conditions in which they choose to be engaged. With a little bit of your help, it might not be so difficult for them. Before you can really help, it’s important to understand your employees’ perspective in a situation of great change. Many studies focus on why people leave; more important is why they choose to stay and engage. Here are some questions your employees may be asking themselves as they decide to engage:
- Why should I get excited about work?
- What do my leaders and mentors expect?
- Am I in a culture that cares about me?
- How will I know how I am doing?
- How do I work effectively with others?
- Is leadership providing a good role model and positive example?
By placing yourself in your employees’ shoes, you are better prepared to help them move toward being committed and engaged.
The culture of the organization will happen whether you influence it or not. And as you move your organization through these new, exciting times, are you willing to run the risk that your employees’ behavior is less than or not what you need it to be? Are your leaders actively involved in establishing a culture of engagement? If not, they need to be, with you setting the example.
At Wilson Learning, we believe that you become a successful leader by taking these steps to proactively sustain the new strategies and direction of a stronger company with a culture of engagement.