Far too many business owners, managers, and supervisors have an erroneous belief of what makes their employees more engaged. Whenever there’s a drop in their productivity rates, employers will talk about how they can boost their confidence and interest by providing more compensation—better pay, career development training workshops, childcare services, and even work-life balance.
While all of these are factors to why employees seem to be disengaged, they are not the be-all of why they are less productive than their counterparts in other companies.
Good leaders know a little fact that not-so-good leaders don’t adhere to. They understand that great employees are born from great leaders. They know that whatever happens on the ground is their responsibility. Anyone who tries to say otherwise isn’t a good leader or is not a leader at all.
What Is Effective Leadership?
SMRT Chairman, Seah Moon Ming, knows this very well. He quit his day job to focus on the problems of the company when he took the helm from his predecessor. His mindset was and to this day is never to blame anyone for the mistakes and misfortunes of the company.
He made it a point to approach the problems of SMRT as if he was the one who caused them. Mr. Seah highlighted the importance of a problem-solving culture over a blame-seeking culture in the office.
That is what effective leadership looks like. It is not appropriating blame to anyone. It is about taking responsibility not only for the business and the mistakes but more so for the people who follow your instructions and bidding. Mr. Seah knows that employees follow in the footsteps of their managers and supervisors.
What Does Employee Engagement Look Like?
How do you know that your employees are engaged? First, they should not be afraid to voice their opinions about projects, policies, and negotiations.
They should be confident enough to let others know about their opinions. The worst thing that can happen to a meeting is when the manager asks for opinions and suggestions, and no one wants to speak up.
That is the height of employee disengagement. If they feel that their voice is not valuable enough to be heard, then you have your work cut out for you.
Do your employees consider each other as friends? Do they make an effort to know each other? Employee engagement isn’t just about how involved they are with their jobs. It is also important for your employees to want to spend time with each other beyond office hours. They should see the office as more than a place for work. They should see it as a place where they can also let loose and be with friends.
What Is the Relationship Between Effective Leadership and Employee Engagement?
There is a misconception that you are a great leader when your employees are scared of you. This is utterly wrong. Fear is not representative of respect and great leadership. It is contrary to what you aim to do. As a leader, you hope to inspire your subordinates. You want them to follow you because they believe in your vision and not because they fear retaliation.
Trust is the foundation of the relationship between leaders and followers. When your followers trust you, they will see you as “one of us.” They identify with you, and that makes it easier for them to follow your lead. Trust is an important component in every relationship, including the one between an employer and an employee.
Aside from earning their trust, your followers have to show that you are passionate about what you do, too. That will inspire them to do better. Despite the ever-presence of fear, anxiety, and exhaustion at work, employees should be able to draw strength from you. Good leaders can inspire employees to step up even amid turbulent times such as the pandemic.
You might also want to ensure your employees’ work-life balance. One of the reasons why employees are disengaged at work is because of the stress they associate with it. Are you working them into the ground? Can they still enjoy what they do? The key to influencing your employees to be more productive is to show them that you care about their well-being. When they know you want them to be better, they will care about your business, too.
High employee engagement will push your employees to work harder. They will be more productive. They will be more inspired to do the work they set out to do. This is how a good organization looks like. When leaders know how to inspire their people, nothing is insurmountable.