Leadership: How You can Make Your People Feel Valued and Get Better Results

engaged-teamOn Engaged employees

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”  – Simon Sinek

The ability to have an engaged work force is vital for the success of the entire organisation. Engaged, energised employees want to continue to do the best for their manager and company and will willingly go the extra mile to put in that discretionary effort.

As an executive coach with particular interest in the areas of emotional and spiritual intelligence, (EQ and SQ), I have been called in to help managers and leaders develop their self-awareness so they have greater awareness of the softer side of their leadership skill development.

In such scenarios, the sponsor such as the CEO or an another senior manager is interested not just in the coachee’s financial results but also their ability to inspire, engage and influence others and create a positive team culture. Not surprisingly some have also scored low on key measures in their leadership engagement surveys.

Only do this if you are genuine

As a manager and leader, if you are wondering what you could do, here are some simple, practical actions you could take. These are some of the actions my clients took to not only create positive shifts in their team culture but also significantly moving their engagement dial.

A cautionary note though – these are not just a “tick the box” activities as in you have done it once and you can now forget about it. I can tell you now – this will NOT work. Your people will see through this and you will lose credibility.

Your approach has to be sincere and authentic. Then over time with consistent effort you will see and hear the positive results!

Some practical actions to influence, inspire and engage

  1. Make an effort and get to know your people. There is more to them than the functional outputs they produce. Try and understand the needs and wants of your direct reports and colleagues ( needless to say, your boss) so you can cultivate deeper win-win relationships. You can find out about their interests, what they spend time doing when not at work, their family and any special circumstances here, their passion, family background – where they grew up, went to school, travel…..the sky is the limit.
  2. As a manager and leader, it is your duty to find out what the career aspirations and vision of your direct reports are so you can guide them appropriately. You are more likely to retain people who feel and know that they are supported in their path of working towards something.
  3. Acknowledge and praise your people for work well done. Again knowing your people well, you will have a better idea of what works for whom. For example, for one team member, some form of public acknowledgment may be important for another just making time to give them a special verbal thank you may be enough.
  4. Ask yourself this question – if there was a company restructuring and people had a choice about whether they work with you or elsewhere, how many of your team members do you think would truly elect to work for you? This can be a good indicator as to how well you are engaging with them or not.
  5. Show confidence in your people and stretch them. Give them “meaty” assignments and tell them that why you have done so – that you think that while there is an element of stretch, you are confident that they have the capability to deliver.
  6. Show your support by being available to discuss and talk through issues that may be of concern to them.
  7. MBAW – ( Management by Walking Around) If physically possible, allow some time during the week to “walk the floors” and have a more casual approach and chat with people. People really value this as opposed to seeing you only when you have to make a request.
  8. Be conscious of your leadership style. If you have a more pace-setting and autocratic style, remember there is also a down side. People may not feel as free to be creative, try on things and learn through their mistakes as they will not want to go outside the parameters of “how the boss likes to have things done.”
  9. Good delegation – you may be really competent technically but if you are not doing your team members any favours if you are doing it all by youself. Not only is this extra work for you but again you are missing out on a great opportunity to engage your people.
  10. Have a review of your team meetings. Are you always the chair? Can this be rotated? Are people free to put items on the agenda or is this controlled by you? Team meetings can be a good forum for engaging everyone.
  11. How often do you hold social functions as a team? Apart from the “away” days, do you get together casually say for Friday drinks? Do you celebrate successes after a win or even a major piece of work?
  12. Watch out for differential treatment of staff members. People very quickly feel it, if as a manager you are playing favourites – spending time and or discussing projects with the selected few on a consistent basis.
  13. Be conscious of your jokes and idiosyncratic humour. You could be alienating people without even realising it.
  14. Get to know people across units and departments. You will get a better view of how your part fits into the whole and forge good relationships.

In the words of Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard: “Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity, and meaning in their job.”

Your reflection

Which of these points really resonate for you? How about picking one and putting it into action this week….and then building on this?

If you would like more, check out my very actionable e-book

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Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Change: The Joys and Challenges of Life


cherry pathI was heading home after a busy Friday. Seeing the traffic ahead, I decided to turn right into a street I very rarely use.

And boy, was I glad I did!

Barely had I gone down a few hundred meters, when I got welcomed by these wonderful, bright pink, cherry trees, many in full bloom.

Just last week I had written a post on the unexpected little joys of life.

The bigger two trees in the corner were full of tuis (NZ bird) ‘tuiting’ away, absolutely lost in the moment and in ecstatic delight of the honey nectar. It is as if, amongst the branches and the blooms, they were having a music and rhythm festival all of their own!

One of the neighbours, similarly enthralled, along with the cat came outside and we started chatting.

We stood there, very much in the moment, admiring the magical, colourful bounty and the blessings of nature.

cherry treeSeasons and change

Here in New Zealand, our Spring season has just begun. It really is a delight seeing all the lovely magnolias, cherry blossoms, sweet-smelling Jasmine, daffodils, early cheers amongst others, appear, after the dull winter.

It got me thinking – we welcome the change of seasons but are we as welcoming of the inevitable changes in our lives? Read more »

Authentic Leadership: Have you had a defining moment?



Last week, as part of our authentic leadership programme, my colleague and I invited the participants to explore their leadership stories.

These are stories that have formed and informed us and make us the leaders that we are. The exploration can be grounding, revealing and empowering.

So what about you?

Is your story something you have given much thought to?

Or perhaps, like many others, you have put your story aside, perhaps seen it as a tad mundane and bearing little significance?

Or perhaps because of a few “bad” experiences, you have been seen these as best ‘forgotten.’

Our Crucibles

Many of us have had defining moments in our lives and these have consciously or unconsciously shaped our beliefs, values and attitudes. Read more »

7 Ways To Take Back Control Of Your Life

mojo image

Are you in a job that you feel is long past its use by date?

The fun, excitement and passion for what you did are long gone.

Monday mornings are a dread with that sinking, ground hog day feeling as you think about the week ahead.

You feel frustrated, stuck and angry, as right now, you don’t even have a vision for what else you could be doing. Or what you would like to be doing feels so impossible and not one that would pay the bills.

For comfort and distraction, maybe you binge on food, alcohol and drugs or other ‘blotting out’ fixes.

But you know deep down that this is not the solution.

Before you get too hard on yourself, let me say, you are not alone and many of us have been through this feeling of being stuck and not being able to see an alternative future.

But wait – all is not lost as you might think! Read more »

13 Actions for Creating Greater Balance at Work

woman in office with childA well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your step as you walk the tightrope of life.”
-William Arthur Ward

Creating a fulfilling life quality, wellness and resiliency are things we strive for in our hectic lives.

The following are some tips and reminders about creating a positive work  experience.  What do you resonate with the most?  And what else works for you which you might like to share?

Work balance tips

  1. Differentiate between what you can control and what you cannot. Do something about that you can control – let go of the other
  2. Delegate – team members are often keen to progress to “meatier” projects. As a leader, encourage development and create these opportunities for team members
  3. Do a reality check on your expectations. Do your projects have adequate resources, are deadlines realistic and your priorities correct?
  4. Do you need to manage upwards better?
  5. Negotiate to work in ways that suit you e.g. having a day away when you work from home
  6. Get feedback from your colleagues and boss.  This could give you the needed missing perspective
  7. Review and critique your current commitments in line with your priorities. Do you have to be involved with those special projects at work, while serving on the school board of trustees and coaching junior soccer?
  8. Learn or do something which develops you which you enjoy beyond the known, operational tasks
  9. Have regular breaks including time out for lunch. “Little and often” is a good formula to remember. Take a longer weekend from time to time
  10. Build in mental bonuses – things that you can look forward to as rewards to keep going now
  11. Schedule some fun time with your team e.g. a slightly longish Friday lunch every so often. This is not only good for team morale but a forced time to just hang together
  12. Watch your internal chatter and work on keeping an upbeat frame of mind. Your outlook determines your experience of any circumstances, “good or bad”
  13. Make a commitment to your well-being. You are only as strong as the weakest link in your chain in your system. Though it requires conscious awareness and effort initially, it is a lot easier to implement balancing strategies than to deal with the aftermath of burnout.

Read more »

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