Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
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How to super-charge employee engagement

In my own organization, we have talked about many strategies over the years for increasing the engagement of our staff, including:

  • giving people as much autonomy as possible over when, how, and with whom they do their work;
  • delegating authority and responsibility as far down the line as possible;
  • focusing on people’s strengths rather than trying to fix their weaknesses;
  • dealing with problems within the team as quickly as possible; and
  • holding people accountable for their results.

These are well-known basics for leaders to embrace if they want to have an engaged team.

Another one that we could all agree with is:

  • showing that you care for each person.

This isn’t as easy to do as it sounds. How exactly do you show that you care?

One great way is by taking the time to understand the individual goals of each of your team members. I am not talking about their work goals here; I am talking about their personal goals. What do they want to achieve in the short and long term? Do they want to start a family? Buy a house? Complete a degree? Great leaders try to know as much about their direct reports as they are willing to share.

Knowing and remembering the dreams and desires of each of your staff – and encouraging them – goes a long way to showing that you care. If you can take it to the next level and get someone’s work aligned with their personal goals, then you have become someone special to them. You become that boss who got them on that course, who encouraged them to plan to go back to school, or who gave a job lead to their spouse.

Some leaders are uncomfortable with the personal approach. In my experience, however, practising it is one of the most powerful ways to super-charge employee engagement.