5 skills a leader needs to increase employee engagement

Demian Rosenthal | February 15, 2021
5 Skills for increasing employee engagement


There is little that is more important to the success of your business than employee engagement. It is vital that employees are fully engaged and committed to their organisation’s vision and mission. Yet, our team pulse survey results indicate that there are at least a couple of disengaged employees in most teams. After surveying thousands of teams over the last years, we found that on average only 39% of employees are fully engaged. Of the remaining 60%, on average about 15% are disengaged – they feel disconnected, treated unfairly, and, in some cases, even resentful towards the leader and the organisation. While you may think “Wait, I would notice if one of my team members is resentful towards me or my organisation”, most often, leaders are unaware of such issues.

The good news is that, according to a recently published study by Dale Carnagie, you, as the leader, can have the biggest impact on your team’s engagement.

Here are 5 areas to focus on and develop in order to improve employee engagement in your team and organisation:

1. Alignment

Highly engaged employees believe in the purpose and vision of their organisation and experience its values on a daily basis. They see meaning in their work because their leader creates a clear connection between the duties of their role and the success of their organisation. Effective leaders are fully aware that by gaining their team’s buy-in to the organisation’s values is the first step in building a high-performance culture with optimal levels of employee engagement.

2. Trust

Trust is another key ingredient on your journey towards a fully engaged team. However, a leader has to be aware that simply being a trustworthy leader is not enough to build high levels of trust with your team. People don’t know your trustworthiness until you demonstrate and role model trustworthy behaviour. According to HBR, the three essential behaviours are to build positive relationships, demonstrate good judgment, and be consistent in your actions. Remember, you do not need to be perfect at all three of them, but you should at least strive for and be good at them.

3. Inclusion

Humans are social creaturess and healthy relationships with our peers matter to us. Whether your team members feel they are part of the team has a significant impact on employee engagement. Effective leaders have a good grasp on personality preferences and how these may impact team dynamics and they know how to get the best out of each of their team members regardless of their ethnic background, gender, age, or sexual orientation. They know that people with vastly different world views can work together towards a shared goal, if all members have a sense of belonging.

4. Mentorship

The saying “chose your boss, not your company” is not just a catchy phrase. Most employees these days are well aware that their relationship with their boss has a significant impact on their job satisfaction. If you want to ensure that your employee engagement is high, you should give your team members constructive feedback regularly, and show interest in their personal and professional development.

5. Team Development

Developing individuals into a team that works together towards a shared goal is essential for achieving the financial outcomes you strive for, as well as for ensuring high levels of employee engagement. The most effective leaders ensure that there is a shared accountability within the team. The leader encourages the whole team to take ownership of the development journey of the team towards the culture the team aspires to create.

All five skills are essential in your quest to building a fully engaged team. A big challenge in developing these skills is that they work synergistically and are dependent on each other. To mentor your team members well, you have to first built trust, and the degree to which you succeed on inclusion and alignment will depend on your mentoring skills. You will, of course, struggle to get your team to work together effectively if members are not aligned on a common mission.

In reality, not all of these skills will come naturally to you. However, that is okay, your team will be able to give you feedback on your potential blind spots and areas for improvement. Just remember when the results roll in, you are after honest feedback, not just positive feedback.

Want to know how engaged your team members really are and how they vibe with your leadership? Sign up for a free trial + a debrief session with one of our Team Development Specialists to get your team humming and experience measurable results to your bottom line.

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