Engaging and mobilizing team members or employees can feel like a daunting challenge, especially if you are a technologist, engineer, scientist or physician making the transition into a leadership or management position. However a few simple behaviors can make a huge difference to improve engagement with the people you need to help you get the job done.
For instance, many employees are frustrated because they feel like they have to be a mind reader, psychic or great guesser as to what their your priorities are at any given time. Even worse, they don’t know how they are doing and how they can do better. Their annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out. Often stressful for both of you and because it happens only once a year, the annual review does not set people up for success. Your employees need more frequent, detailed feedback and feedforward so they can make responsive adjustments and know they are on track!
This situation is not completely the fault of management. In some organizations, spans of control have become so large that managers have to complete another formal performance review every three or four days. Leaders are busy, busy, busy. I get it. But that’s still no excuse.
There are many simple strategies to mobilize employees and create a highly engaged team. the good news is they cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately and have huge impact.
For instance, one opportunity that many leaders have to build trust with their team members – even at the C-level – is to give more frequent, informal feedback about how each employee is doing. It takes just a few minutes to ask a question and listen to the response you get. That way, everyone in an organization knows what is expected of them and how they can get better.
There are seven simple questions every leader must ask employees … and intently listen to the answers to create a highly engaged team. As with advertising, frequency counts. Small, informal conversations about performance go a long way – especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details.
The questions include:
1. What do you believe I expect from you?
2. What are you doing well?
3. What, if anything, can you be doing better?
4. What, if anything, do you believe I see you could do better?
5. (If appropriate): What do you expect will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments)?
6. (If appropriate): What do you expect will happen if you don’t improve?
7. How can I help?
While all of these questions are important, and you don’t have to ask all of them at once, the last question is especially important. It shows the employee that the leader cares, and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame.
No more excuses! For more information about how you can easily and effectively engage and mobilize your team and to take a confidential and free self-assessment about how well you are engaging and mobilizing your team or employees, click here.
Christina Haxton is the Chief Potential Officer & Founder of The Center for Sustainable Strategies, a business strategy & executive advisory company, assisting technology and life science entrepreneurs, business owners & CEOs to build a strong, purpose-driven company, achieve sustainable growth & avoid burnout. Contact Christina at (970) 387-8935 or firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about speaking, training, coaching and consulting solutions for yourself or your company.