Engage the disengaged



You know what engages and inspires people most? Feeling they’ve done a good job and that their work is valued and valuable. Agreed?

But according to a recent Gallup state-of-the-workplace report, only 30% of employees are engaged and inspired at work. 50% are not engaged … and the remaining 20% of employees are “actively disengaged.”

Source: Gallup Research

How do you turn that 70% of your workforce around and give them a fulfilling work life and boost company figures at the same time? Sounds like the million-dollar question, doesn’t it, but there are two easy steps you can take to make a massive difference.

Stop Telling, Start Showing

It’s all too easy to talk your team through the what, when and why of their task or project and assume they will understand exactly what you mean. What the majority of leaders forget to do, though, is to explain HOW.

Albert Einstein said it best: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” So show your team the processes you see the project needing, the tools they’ll need to make a success of their work, and the approaches they might want to consider as they work through their challenge.

And don’t just rely on words. Consider images, location-based discussion, models, brainstorming sessions on a team walk instead of in the office, but keep the focus on HOW and keep the what, when and why to a minimum.

Know your learning styles

Some people prefer a hands-on approach to understanding their challenge (physical or kinesthetic learners), some get ideas best by reading charts and visual prompts (visual learners), while others like to properly read up and process written information before making a start on their task (read-write learners).

Then there are those who thrive working in a team (social), and those who charge ahead when they have peace and quiet to focus on the problem at hand, alone (solitary).

Making the assumption that each member of a team has the same personality is at the heart of every misguided meeting and information session, at the beginning of every product that fails and R&D investment that underperforms. But a good leader knows how each person works day-to-day, and how they change when the stress hits, and how that, in turn, alters the team dynamic.

Read up on learning styles and have your team in mind as you read, and be alert to how each of them works and what each responds to. Adapt your expectations to fit their personalities and learning styles. You might just learn a bit about yourself as well.

Small steps to take you on your way to a far more inspired – inspiring – and engaged team.

Do you know your learning style? How do you best like to work?

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