Leadership is a complex discipline requiring vision, strategic thinking, financial savvy, and much more. As emerging leaders enter the market, we were curious to identify which behaviors are most effective at engaging employees.
To find out what they were, we conducted a research study, interviewed numerous leaders, and re-traced the steps taken by organizations that have an exceptional company culture. From this emerged four key behaviors that motivate and inspire employees to give their best efforts. While remaining high-level, leaders who can consistently perform these four disciplines will experience positive change.
4 Disciplines All Leaders Need to Do to Engage Employees
1. Give Sincere Praise and Appreciation
It can get lost in the day-to-day rush to meet the next project deadline or delivery schedule, but simple, sincere appreciation, praise, and recognition are essential to motivating employees around the world.
85% of respondents worldwide said that getting sincere appreciation from their supervisor was somewhat or very important to their desire to give their best work.
76% said a leader who gives praise and honest appreciation would be more likely to inspire them than someone who is more focused on getting the job done.
Consider a continuous supply of well-founded praise and sincere appreciation the fuel your people need to keep running.
2. Admit When You Are Wrong
Everyone gets it wrong sometimes. That’s life, and making mistakes is part of it. How we handle situations in which we realize we’re wrong, though, says volumes about what kind of person we are. It takes high levels of honesty, integrity, and courage to admit when you’re wrong. Perhaps that’s why so few leaders do it.
81% of respondents said that having a leader who will admit when he or she is wrong is important or very important to inspire them to give their best efforts at work.
Admitting when you are wrong demonstrates that the environment is safe for taking calculated risks, making mistakes, and learning from them. And while good leaders will usually make the right calls, even the best will undoubtedly have opportunities to prove their reliability, trustworthiness, and integrity by owning their mistakes.
3. Truly Listen and Value Your Employees’ Opinions
People want to contribute to the mission and make a difference; that can only happen when leaders listen. Employees will feel disconnected and rejected without it.
Two of the top three leadership behaviors employees most often identified in the study as vital to their motivation were being “truly listened to” and “having their opinion respected” by their leader.
The opportunities for direct and frequent communication between employers and their employees have never been more abundant given the available technology. Used wisely, leaders who listen can have a tremendous impact. Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, a leadership writer and consultant, suggests, “building a real personal connection with your teammates is vital to developing the shared trust necessary to build a strong culture of accountability and exceptional performance.”
4. Be Honest With Yourself and Others
Trust is the foundation of every relationship. Leaders need to understand that it’s based on more than just telling the truth. Leaders need to be candid when challenged in their decisions. This continued effort of honest feedback will create a culture that engages employees and keeps you on the right road.
Employees are 10 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job when their leader is always honest with others compared to those whose leaders rarely are.
In other words, if your leadership team can be honest with themselves and the rest of the team, you can begin to improve employee engagement and employee satisfaction. Both of which, lead to higher retention and improved productivity!
Getting Your Leadership Disciplined
While these four disciplines may seem like simple concepts, they are not easy to do. The growing statistics about disengaged employees show for it. Each of us, in our various roles, has felt the presence and absence of each of them. It is important to reflect on the impact it had on our motivation to give our best.
Find out how Dale Carnegie of Orange County can help discipline your leadership team to get employees engaged again. Click here to learn more.