Are you an Engaging Leader?

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August 1st, 2017

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How are leaders faring at keeping their people engaged? Apparently, not great.

In Roffey Park and Profile Asia’s 2017 Working in Asia report, respondents are doubtful about the ability of leaders in Singapore to successfully engage their employees:

  • Employee engagement and morale is a top people challenge; as indicated by 67 per cent of the time by HR professionals
  • 43 per cent of respondents felt that their line managers were weak at connecting with them on a personal and emotional level

These numbers seem to stay consistently unchanged. Many times, it spells rather long-term negative consequences for the company: lowered productivity, lowered job satisfaction and lowered workplace motivation, just to name a few.

Perhaps, it’s about time we rethink the concept of “employee engagement”.

To be fair, both HR and non-HR leaders do recognise that being more engaging in order to boost employee engagement levels is critical for the business. 31% of HR managers in our Working in Asia survey indicated the ability to engage employees is a critical technical skill for them to possess in order to be highly effective in the business environment. 31% of leaders also admitted in the survey that ‘maintaining staff morale and engagement’ is an ongoing leadership challenge. There are many facets to engaging employees. If you are in a leadership role, here are a few questions to ask of yourself as an engaging leader:

  1. How often do you show your employees that you appreciate and value them?

Employees like feeling appreciated for their efforts. One of the top reasons for people leaving their organisation is a felt sense of a lack of appreciation from their managers (38% of respondents, Working in Asia 2017). Appreciation can take many forms and is said to be the most effective when done immediately and face-to-face. It doesn’t need to be a huge gesture, sometimes all it takes is a simple ‘thank you’.

  1. Do you develop your employees and manage their performance well?

Managing your employees performance does not mean you become a micro-manager. Rather, it means setting fair and challenging but achievable targets. Ensuring that your employees get the development they want and need to do their work well is also important. Finding opportunities for them to hone their skills and stretch themselves will do the trick. Constantly engaging them in a conversation about their needs and development is also important.

  1. To what extent do you empower your employees?

Feeling empowered and to some extent, having autonomy and being involved in decisions  goes a long way in making someone feel engaged. When employees feel like they are in control of their tasks and their day-to-day work, it makes their work more meaningful. Giving them some autonomy to exercise their judgment concerning their work also gives employees the feeling that their managers trust them.

  1. Do you communicate in a clear and honest way?

Face-to-face communication where employees are involved in the conversation are the most appreciated by employees. When employees feel safe, they are more likely to open up during discussions.

  1. Do you take the time to cultivate meaningful relationships with your employees?

Taking the time to genuinely get to know your employees is important. Employees feel valued when managers show concern for their well-being and get to know their lives and interests outside of work. Key to this is understanding how accessible you are. Is it easy for them to approach you and talk about their issues or ask questions?

  1. Are you fair when exercising decisions?

It is important that you exercise integrity when making decisions. It is even more important that the outcome of decisions are explained to employees. If they feel you are not being totally honest with them, it can make them distrustful of you (and the organisation) and less open as a result.

What steps are you taking today to further enhance your role as an engaging leader?

The Engaging Leader and Working in Asia 2017 reports are now available for download.