Engagement is the positive emotional connection an employee has to their work and is perhaps the most important measure of a team. But sadly, Gallup’s 2017 data has shown that of the 100 million people in America with full-time jobs, 85% are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work. What can we as leaders do to solve this epidemic?
For most of my career, I have been the point leader. With that position comes certain perks, freedoms and responsibilities; but as a leader, I have to be engaged every day just to do my job. Engagement is a prerequisite to good leadership.
With that in mind, I want you to imagine what would happen if everyone on your team had the engagement of a leader. I believe that level of engagement is not only possible in the workplace, but achievable.
At Southwest Michigan First, for example, we say that all team members are the “CEO of their own responsibilities.” For us, that means that everyone is empowered by trust to succeed on their own. Follow these four steps to start engaging every member of your team like a CEO:
1. Delegate responsibilities to your team members and encourage them to take personal ownership of that responsibility.
On any team, each person has unique strengths and abilities that make them especially suited for the job. Match team members to responsibilities that correspond to their individual strengths, then give them personal ownership of those responsibilities. Each person must know that they alone are accountable for achieving those personal goals.
2. Trust your team with the latitude to act on their own.
As a CEO, I do not have to fill out approval forms for taking time off or going to a doctor’s appointment; I don’t have to account for my life at that level. If the people who work with me are CEOs of their own responsibilities, they should not have to account for their lives at that level either. Your team should be trusted to act alone and still get the job done. This kind of freedom breeds high responsibility and fosters incredible results
3. Give everyone the resources and authority they need to go the extra mile.
As a leader, I strive to give each of my team members access to the resources they need to do a fantastic job. But people also need to be empowered to use those resources. To accomplish this, delegate the authority team members need to meet and exceed their personal responsibilities. When leaders give people resources and empower them to make decisions as if they are a CEO, they give them an opportunity to shine and demonstrate their excellence.
4. Stress accountability. But remember to recognize successes.
The only way this can work is if everyone is accountable for performance and outcomes. If our team members are treated like CEOs, they have to perform as CEOs as well. But with great expectation, comes great reward. So after a project is completed, don’t forget to take time to celebrate the success!