Creating a culture where teams feel valued, trusted, inspired, and empowered will almost guarantee employee engagement.
When teams feel disempowered, untrusted, and unnoticed for what they contribute or are simply punching a clock, they will withdraw, disengage, and eventually leave the organization. As leaders, we can blame systems, processes, environment, and many other challenges but in many cases, it ultimately boils down to ineffective leadership practices.
Leaders must first set the example of leadership by adopting habits, patterns, and characteristics that will inspire team members and promote engagement. Those who disregard personal and professional growth are often leaders who seek to blame rather than face their inadequacies. While those who choose to invest in themselves as leaders will increase the odds of an engaged team exponentially.
Here are just a few characteristics of an Inspiring Leader:
In addition to taking on the traits of an inspiring leader, below are some ways leaders can better connect with their teams, encourage collaborative environments, and more.
1. Strive to be both a leader and a follower:
Effective leaders look for ways to collaborate rather than take the authoritarian approach.
According to multiple studies on effective leaders, when appropriate, efforts should frequently be made where leaders can be seen as “one of the team.” Leading is less about the abilities of the leader and more about the abilities of the team coming together with one purpose and one goal in mind to accomplish great things. True leaders will make celebrations about “we” not “me.”
2. Passion, optimism, and confidence inspires and creates trust:
After polling 4,000 leaders and their teams, Bain Inspirational Teams (www.bain.com ) discovered and listed 33 leadership characteristics that were mentioned most often as inspiring traits of a leader. Bain then broke them down into 4 main quadrants that are essential to team success. Leaders who demonstrated the majority of those characteristics in all 4 quadrants possessed a much greater chance of leading teams to high productivity and effectiveness. Below are the 4 quadrants listed in the article How Leaders Inspire: Cracking The Code.
- Developing inner resources
- Connecting with others
- Setting the tone
- Leading the team
Staying passionate and optimistic is also crucial in promoting engagement and inspiring trust among workers by empowering them to take necessary risks despite challenges. Once demonstrated and then learned, teams can come together quickly and solve some of the most difficult problems.
3. Structure, consistency and effective systems are also key to creating an engaged environment:
Successful leadership is about more than checking off a list of boxes and reaching specific goals. It’s about consistently providing clear expectations, solid organizational systems and opportunities for growth both individually and as a whole team. When leaders support and equip teams with the right tools, removing any question of uncertainty about what is expected, the sky is the limit for what can be accomplished. Especially when leaders demonstrate a strong belief and a genuine trust in team members to accomplish the tasks required.
4. Team members are the gateway and the ambassadors to your vision
When leaders see their teams as their greatest investment and take the time to pour into them with a genuine concern for their well-being and their success, resisting suspicion or harsh criticism, teams will feel committed to both the leader and the cause of the organization.
Three practices leaders can apply consistently to ensure trust and engagement are prevalent.
- Demonstrate a heart that truly cares
- Maintain a passion that inspires
- Consistently equip and empower teams to win
To the degree you trust them – they will reciprocate it back to you.
Good leaders know that providing support, constructive feedback and recognition are among their most crucial tasks. But inspiring leaders are self-aware, committed to growth and able to objectively assess whether they’re setting a good example for the rest of the team to follow. By modeling the behavior, they wish to see in their team members, delegating important responsibilities and believing in them, the goal of engagement becomes a result rather than a complex effort of strategy.
The first step toward an engaged, productive team is to schedule your FREE session with our coaches.