You have a vision for your team and are genuinely excited about it. That’s great! Bravo! Now, you have to get your team excited about it.
My team was almost constantly engaged in the outcome, which was a good thing. There were times when I had an idea or was responsible for implementing a new policy from corporate. These were the times that I received some “pushback” from my colleagues. If not actually “pushback,” then it is less than full-blown enthusiasm.
This sounds familiar? These are the kinds of responses you’ve received from your team. Do you wonder how to make things better?
You’ll be happy to know there are things you can do. (NOTE: These three actions are not the only ones you can do to increase engagement in your team.
1. Do a self-check
Are you really as engaged in the outcome? It was not always easy to be 100% engaged in the development, especially when I was trying to “sell” a corporate directive that I disagreed with. I would call my team and tell them, “Look, corporate wants us to do that.” It’s a silly policy, and it won’t work. But let’s all just suck it up. It wasn’t so bad, maybe. Maybe it was. This may seem hard to believe. However, many times my team was not fully engaged after such a motivating pep talk. Your team will look to you for guidance on how to behave, how to feel, and what to think. Don’t expect your team to be engaged if you don’t believe in the outcome. Your team will consider more if you believe in the vision.
2. Communicate as often and as often you can!
People will fill the vacuum without any information. There’s a good chance their fill-in material is both incorrect and harmful. This is something you’ve seen in your own lives. It’s like meeting a cute person at a party. You have a few drinks, great conversation, and then you call them the following day. They don’t return your calls. They don’t return calls after two days. In the absence of additional information, what can you fill-in? They’re likely busy caring for their mother, who lives in a remote mountain pass without an internet or cell phone connection. However, they think of me often and will call me as soon as possible. You think that’s what they are thinking. Wrong! Here’s what you’re really thinking. “I should not have called so quickly. I should have waited another morning. I should not have said that I am more of a dog lover than a cat person. They may hate cats and love dogs. This was my only chance at true happiness, and I’ve now ruined everything. I’m going to be miserable the rest of my days until I die alone. Isn’t this more true? Don’t place your team in such a position! You shouldn’t force them to “fill in the gaps.” Even if it’s not the best news, give them as much information and as many details as possible. Trust is built when they feel that you communicate openly and honestly. Trust builds engagement.
3. Encourage them to become better people.
It is human nature. When people feel you care about their priorities, they will be more concerned about yours. It’s hard to care about another person’s priorities if they don’t exist. Find out what motivates your team members. Remember that each member of your team has their own goals and aspirations. Each member of the team should have a one-on-1 meeting. Ask each member of your team to share one personal and one professional goal during this meeting. Then, look for ways you can help them achieve those goals, provided they are compatible with the organizational and team goals. Your team members will be more likely to get involved in the team’s plans if they see you care about them.
As the leader of your team, you have the most significant influence on their engagement. Don’t just wish your couple was more engaged. Make it happen.