How Managers Engage Their Teams Matters
A Gallup study sought to learn just how much employee engagement depends on managers. It’s not surprising to those of us who have spent decades using action learning leadership development to build effective leaders that about 70% of the difference in increased employee engagement is driven by who is leading the team. Data from our people manager assessment center tell us what it takes to be a good people manager who gets results and engages their team.

How Managers Engage Their Teams
Here are the results of a follow-up study by Fortune 100 to investigate what experienced and new managers of highly engaged teams routinely do that distinguishes them from managers of less engaged teams. They looked at the thousands-strong employee populations of two of their clients and found that managers successfully engage their teams by:

  • Working at Least as Long as Their Employees
    It’s easy to imagine how quickly employees would feel less engaged if they, day after day, witnessed their managers checking out well before they did. Working regularly after hours when your manager leaves regularly at the close of day naturally sets up feelings of unfairness and resentment. While we advocate results over effort, managers should set the example of giving similar effort as their employees.

  • Assigning Work Responsibilities in an Even-Handed Way
    Again, it’s a question of fairness. Managers need to effectively allocate resources, delegate tasks, and ensure that their team members carry similar workloads. The employee who struggles with an overload of work assignments will quickly feel overwhelmed and unfairly treated. As a result, this overworked employee will care less and less about their performance and the team.

  • Meeting Regularly With Employees One-on-One
    Employees want to feel that they have direct and scheduled time with their manager. These short, but frequent, visits allow time for clarifying particular roles and assigned tasks, for airing grievances before they grow too big, for better understanding behavioral standards, for improving performance, and for planning future career development opportunities.

  • Tending To and Expanding Their Internal Network
    Employees depend upon their managers to represent and advocate for them in the larger company framework. Managers who have healthy, reciprocal relationships with different teams are better able to coordinate the work of the team across the company.

  • Showing What It Means to be Engaged
    The best managers are themselves fully engaged in the work of the team, the purpose of the business, and the ideal of continuous improvement. Their example can be an inspiration to their team members in setting up a healthy, positive, open work environment.

The Bottom Line
The key to engaging teams is having managers who work hard and with purpose, treat their employees fairly, spend time getting to know individual team members in terms of what they do well and where they need extra support, and see that their team has the company connections that facilitate team success. How well do your managers fit this picture?

To learn more about how managers engage their teams, download The Top 6 Forces Driving Employee Engagement and Strategies to Move the Engagement Needle

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