Five Tips to Engage Employees

Imagine feeling the tension in the air as soon as you walk into your office.  Your customer service department is under an unusually high volume of calls.  Your sales department is scrambling to complete a proposal for a prospective client that could potentially skyrocket quarterly earnings.  Staff is coming to you for quick answers and you don’t even have your coat off yet!

Here’s your chance to model what Mindful Leadership is all about.  The key indicator of what can affect your employee turnover rate, productivity, and ultimately the bottom line is YOU.  Specifically how you show-up and interact with your staff whether in high stress times or the usual day to day demands, your presence as a leader influences how engaged your employees will be.

Gallup Research reveals that only 29% of employees are engaged; 54% are disengaged and 17% already have one foot out the door (actively disengaged).   If you show-up as tense and disinterested that is the response you will get in return from your staff.  Unknowingly you may be leading in such a way that your staff perceives you as critical, demanding, or aloof.  From their perspective, they are doing the best they can and it would go a long way to be noticed for their efforts.

Below are five tips to engage your employees: 

1.  Be intentional to set a calm tone.  As the Manager, Business Owner, or CEO, you set the tone for the team and organization.  If you are anxious, angry, or agitated, it affects how receptive your employees are to you.  In contrast if you are calm, you enlist more employee buy-in.  You are conveying a stabilizing presence that in turn helps your team to stay calm and function with more clarity and focus.  This is where your own mindfulness practice pays dividends, not only for you but also for your employees.

2.  Send the message “We are in this together”.  Employees can sense when the Management team is more concerned about their ego than how their employees are doing.  When Leaders focus on “we” instead of what’s in it for them, employees are more dedicated to the business outcome.

3.  Convey compassion in your approach. There is truth in the old saying “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.  This applies in personal as well as professional relationships.  Employees who are most engaged sense you not only care about them as people, but also that you understand the work demands and you want to help.  This tip in itself will vastly improve your employee’s trust in your leadership.

4. Be Visible – The TV show Undercover Boss is a creative way to find out how well your organization is running from the bottom up.  However, if you as Manager, Business Owner, or CEO are so far removed from your employees that they wouldn’t recognize you even in a disguise, something is missing in your accessibility to your employees.  Employees need to see you and hear directly from you the vision of why they are doing what they are doing.

5.  Be a really good listener – One of the best ways to improve employee morale and engagement is to take a genuine interest them as people.  When you listen – give your full attention, acknowledge with your facial expressions that you hear them, and refrain from asking questions.  This seemingly small act will convey   you care and want to understand their perspective, even if it is different than yours.

Next month we will address more tips in how to listen beyond words!

Make the conscious choice to show interest and compassion, and notice what happens to the level of engagement with your employees.

Want to learn more about bringing focus and calm to your next business meeting or staff training?

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