For many there are two ends of the spectrum – on one side is driving efforts to increase productivity at all costs and on the other is taking steps to increase employee engagement. To maintain a fine balance between the two i.e. drive efforts as well as increase employee engagement, requires a special skill. Very few managers/leaders have managed to do that so far.
Great leaders are effective at driving results by focusing on what is most important for achieving the strategic goals of the organization. They are able to create a balanced approach around those tactics, with strict time frames, that contribute to the overall strategic direction. They understand that while increasing employee engagement is important to increasing productivity, at times employees also need to be driven to achieve results quicker and better.
Here are 5 ways for leaders to drive results as well as increase employee engagement at the same time:
Help everyone understand the company vision:
Vision is defined by the upper echelons of an organisation. Being closely involved in the process, they have clarity on how they want to proceed, what strategies should they adopt to make sure that this vision is achieved. But as we go down the organisational hierarchy, less and less individuals are aware of what their company is trying to achieve. They usually perform their tasks without having a complete understanding of what is the end purpose of all these efforts. This is known to inhibit them from developing an affinity with the company and are often unsatisfied, leading to lower engagement levels.
Good leaders help these individual contributors gain a clarity as to which direction the company wants to proceed. They take efforts to communicate and make everyone understand what strategies are being adopted, what will be their implication, what steps should be taken and ultimately how everything ties together. When employees are shown a structured path and equipped with proper tools and knowledge to walk with, they can be highly motivated to give their best.
Motivate them to get better:
Autocratic leaders can only drive or push their employees to increase their productivity. This is counter-productive in the long run. Working incessantly may yield short term benefits but will eventually break employees and decrease their performance levels. Inevitably such leaders do not hesitate to fire employees performing at lower than expected levels.
Instead of pushing employees to work harder, great leaders focus on inspiring and motivating them to increase their efforts voluntarily. Inspiration and motivation are like catalysts that help employees unleash their hidden potential and redouble their efforts. Their ability to deliver on their tasks rises manifold. Leaders need to also create a positive work environment that encourages employees to be passionate and enthusiastic about coming to work and giving their best every single time.
Aim for the stars, reach the moon:
Most employees get complacent over time. They are used to performing same tasks repeatedly to deliver the same output. They are not challenged to move beyond their comfort zone.
In such cases, leaders need to utilize the concept of stretch goals to get the most out of their subordinates. Basically they make sure that the targets are difficult to achieve yet not impossible. Although according to the concept they need to be lenient when it comes to measuring their employees’ performance. The expected achievement rate is usually between 60% to 70% of these ambitious targets. Employees need to get out of their comfort zone and take those extra efforts to make sure their achievements fall between this bracket.
Focus on development of subordinates:
Employee who have been working in the organisation for long, usually perform the same set of activities with the same set of skills. With the rapid advancement of technology, these skills can be become obsolete and thus need to be regularly updated.
Good leaders understand that spending time and money on developing individuals is more beneficial in the long run. Instead of hiring newer individuals who are equipped with modern skills, it is better to develop existing employees as it is less cumbersome as well as more practical. Accordingly they are able to formulate and execute plans that succeed in developing employees individually that lead to ultimately improving their performance and subsequently organisational productivity.
Open to feedback:
Most importantly, good leaders value listening and are open to receiving feedback from everyone within and without the organisation. It helps them gain insights into many situations from a different perspective. If there are any aspects that are being overlooked and causing problems, they need to be addressed at the earliest. They regularly seek feedback from everyone they are closely involved with. Even employees find it easy to approach these individuals and confide their problems that would usually have remained unsaid. Leaders who are open to feedback are highly respected and thus command higher loyalty.
All of these together help great leaders ensure that employees are highly engaged in their work and are also self-driven to achieve higher performance levels.