Want an engaged team? Obsess about these four things.

How engaged is your team? Is your assessment reflected by your gut feel or other benchmarks (in your engagement survey for example)?

We want to work with people who are productive, satisfied and happy. Research shows a link between these aspects and engagement, as well as a link between engagement, revenue and profit.

What’s the problem with measuring engagement then?

According to Gallup less than a quarter (24%) of employees in Australia are engaged. Employee engagement has not budged in a decade. And measuring engagement isn’t sufficient to improve it.

What? Measuring engagement is not causing it to increase?

So, what should we focus on instead?

I’m working with a few different executive teams as they tackle declines in their annual engagement scores. These executives care about their people and want to do the right thing.

While it’s easy to focus on tactical ‘process’ initiatives that improve empowerment, communication, and change management for example, they don’t address the root cause. The answer doesn’t lie in a list of initiatives to ‘fix’ engagement. The answer lies in what leaders need to do and how they need to show up for others – every day. Leaders need to know how to lead. Starting from the top down.

Leadership effectiveness drives engagement.

Leadership effectiveness is the root cause of engagement and the other metrics we care about that ultimately drive profit/share price.

I asked a team of executives this week:

  • “How are these engagement scores a reflection of your leadership”?
  • “How are these engagement scores a reflection of the leadership of the leadership team”?

There was silence.

You get higher engagement from more effective leaders, but you don’t get more effective leaders by measuring engagement. You get more effective leaders by measuring leadership effectiveness. James Carolin – Maximus.

In the race to achieve results, the performance environment is often neglected.

Effective leaders should care and obsess about these four leadership benchmarks:

  • How you get things done so that people feel empowered, valued and that they belong
  • People do what they do knowing where they are heading
  • People know their target benchmark for what they need to achieve
  • People know how their input contributed to the purpose/vision

These benchmarks drive execution (what gets done) AND engagement (how things get done). Think about companies with cultures you admire – within them, these benchmarks are being met. Great cultures and performance environments are driven by great leaders.

How does your leadership stack up against these benchmarks? If there was one to pay more attention to, which one would it be? What impact would meeting these benchmarks consistently have on your results and engagement?

Want some help? Ready for a bigger leadership game? Let’s chat.

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