Good leaders know it’s not about me, it’s about we
Are you concerned that your people are not engaged?
Your people want to do more, not less. They eagerly want to take a seat at the table and make a meaningful contribution. If this is not the case, then there is an extremely high likelihood that you encouraged them to be disengaged. Humans are naturally motivated. You don’t have to encourage a baby to walk. In fact, you couldn’t stop them if you tried.
Most likely, part of their disengagement is due to your need to provide them with answers and directions. Great leaders are not looking for people who will do what they are told. They are looking for people who will act and make decisions based on the mission or purpose of the organization. The best leaders stay off center stage and let their people be the stars of the show. Allow your employees to make a meaningful contribution using their unique strengths and gifts. There’s no greater compliment than recognizing them for that contribution. Talk about rocking Maslow’s Hierarchy!
If you want to get your people more engaged, engage them. Let them co-create goals. Then allow them the room and space to achieve those goals in the way that works best for them.
Sometimes owners are horrified with the idea of letting the staff set the goals. I have consistently found, that when people are approached with respect and trust, they will ask far more of themselves than the boss would ever dare ask.
This collaborative approach does not end with the goal setting. To maximize engagement, there needs to be an ongoing dialogue about what you are achieving together. Regularly let your people tell you about what they are going to do next. Listen intently and ask open-ended questions. They will figure it out. When they do, it is extremely likely that they will deliver on their own ideas and plans. If you think they are off track, brainstorm with them about alternative courses of action, but at the end of the day, they need to own the plan of action.