Engaging your team – how to get them going again

Engaging your team – how to get them going again
April 2, 2018 Linda Murray

It’s hard enough getting yourself motivated and engaged when you’re flat but how do you bring your team back to life. Today we’ll share some ideas to help you get your team going again, even if they’re flat and unmotivated.

Engagement and the human brain.

Before we go on, you must remember our brains are wired to avoid threat and seek out rewards. As the leader, you are able to help maximise the rewards your people find from being engaged in work. That isn’t as hard to do as it sounds.

In Engaging for Success, a report by David Macleod and Nita Clarke, four factors are listed as important to help employees become engaged in their work. These are:

  1. Leadership/strategic narrative
  2. Engaging managers
  3. Employee voice
  4. Integrity – behaviour consistent with values.

Each of these factors has a positive impact on employee engagement because they activate the reward response in the brain.

So, what are they and how can you use them?

Leadership/strategic narrative

One of the biggest motivators is knowing your work has value and meaning. That’s what a leadership or strategic narrative is all about. It is the way you help your people to see a clear link between their efforts and the overall goals of the company.

When your team members know work matters and makes a difference, it makes them feel good because they know what they do is valued.

To motivate your people, help them see a clear link between the work they do and the impact it has on organisational goals and to the community. This is becoming more and more important as younger generations enter the workforce. For many, it’s their primary work motivation.

Engaging managers

A Gallup survey has shown as many as 50% of employees leave their jobs because of poor managers. That shows how much impact what you do or say has to your people. To help engage your people, it’s important to show your human side. We’re human animals and we love to be connected – part of a team. So, show them they belong.

Talk to them. Encourage them. Help them. Support them. Stand up for them. Congratulate them. Reward them. Connect with them.

The brain responds to social inclusion and being trusted, rather than judged. In return, they’ll offer you their loyalty, mutual support and their best work.

Employee voice

This is all about being heard and being given the opportunity to speak up with ideas or concerns about the work or the direction the company is going. It’s all tied up with a feeling of ownership over their work, and a sense that they have some control over what’s happening. That’s a powerful stimulant for the brain.

You can do this formally or informally, but make sure your people know they can speak up when they want or need to. You’ll find this active participation boost your results because you’ll discover better ways of doing things or you’ll be able to stop problems before they get worse. What a great feeling of achievement that will be for your team.

Integrity – behaviour consistent with values.

The report, Engaging for Success, defines this is being concerned with fairness and honesty. A conflict between expressed company values and its actual behaviour will leave people feeling uncertain about their job security and what’s expected of them. Most people are very genuine and expect the best from themselves and others, and especially from the organisation, they work for. They also expect it from their leaders. What you say must align with what you do. This helps boost team confidence and increases the feeling of certainty, another trigger for the reward centre of the brain.

When you treat people with respect and fairness, your behaviour and decisions are transparent and authentic, and you give them safety in which to speak, you are offering all the rewards their brains need to help create and increase engagement.

It’s neuroscience, not rocket science! But it may be something you need to remind yourself to do each day, so the demands of your role don’t take over.

If you would like to share your experience with engaging and motivating your team members, we’d love to hear it. Please tell us about it in the comments below.

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