Here are five things you should think about when it comes to employee engagement:
1. Do your thinking preferences affect the way you relate to certain employees?
Do you connect with certain people more easily than others? Do you pay more attention to their ideas than others’? Do some employees struggle with your directions while others have no trouble? It’s natural to, in essence, “speak to yourself” from a thinking preference standpoint. That works great for those who think just like you do, but the most effective leaders are inclusive leaders who value diversity of thought and know how to engage everyone.
2. How well do you know your employees?
Do you understand their expectations, job needs and preferences, and what they bring to the table? Most of us have a wealth of “untapped resources” in the people we work with. Engage with the way they think and they will feel more valued and motivated – meaning they can contribute in more meaningful ways.
3. What are the thinking requirements of the work?
Think about the job as well as the employee. Align people with the work they do best and find most stimulating. Help people stretch outside their mental comfort zones when the job requires it. It’s a good time to re-evaluate job descriptions and assignments to make sure you’re setting people up to feel mentally energised by their work, not drained by it.
4. Are you helping people bring their best thinking to work?
The complexity of the environment means everyone has to be more agile in their thinking. Rather than allowing employees to become consumed by chaos, you need to encourage and give them the tools to use thinking to their advantage, to draw on all their mental resources as needed so they can make sense of the noise.
5. Are you inspiring ownership and including everyone in the process?
Now more than ever, we need the diversity of the organisation’s thinking working to solve problems and find better ways of doing things. That means listening for and valuing all the thinkers on the team, even—especially—those whose perspectives are different from your own. You also need to give people some control over the way work gets done. Engage employees’ thinking, and they’ll likely find efficiencies an outside observer would miss.
Now more than ever, to engage people we have to know how to engage their thinking—before it’s too late!
What are you doing to create a culture where everyone’s thinking counts?