When I interviewed Bob Richards, a director-level leader for a Fortune 500 organization about creating positive workplace morale, I got a bonus: a list from Bob’s direct report Bill Kimbro on the specific things that Bob does to create a highly engaged staff. Something is working: Bob’s Global Operational Excellence team received their company’s “Most Engaged” award in 2012.
Here is Bill’s list.
Give credit. Give credit to the team as a whole and to individuals, especially in public.
Focus on strengths. Focus on what people are good at, and then determine best way to use their skills. This enables positive behavior. This focus makes it easy for someone to be successful.
Be a good listener. Let others talk first and then add your comments. Build ideas from what the team has offered up. Once the idea is “seeded” provide the “nutrients” to let it grow.
Let go of your own ideas. Use your team’s ideas more than your own. Respect the experience each team member brings to the table. Take that team wisdom, nurture it and provide focus when it needs guidance.
Build trust and loyalty through humility. Be humble about your own contribution. Focus on first on making the team successful.
Don’t “control” your team. Do not manage people, but rather manage activity. Allow team members to operate in their own style.
Reflect continually. Create a “topic of the week” and reflect daily on how our decisions affect these topics.
Demonstrate a mentoring culture. Let it be known that mentoring is encouraged. Give suggestions and helpful hints from your own experience, but do so without becoming overbearing.
Discussion question: what would you add to the list of leadership actions that build employee engagement?
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