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How Leaders Can Engage People in the Workplace

If you wake up on Monday morning dreading going to work, you’re not alone.
 
In fact, current research says that two out of three people in the workplace don’t really want to be there.
 
It might not surprise you, but the number one reason people don’t feel engaged at work is their boss.
 
This finding comes from Gallup research, which Has been studying workplace engagement and human behavior for decades.  
 
One-third of Employees Engaged
Since 2000, Gallup has found that only about one-third (33%) of employees are actively engaged, which it defines “as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. But the majority of employees are indifferent, sleepwalking through their workday without regard for their performance or their organization's performance.”
 
Their study of more than 7,000 U.S. workers found that one in two employees reported leaving a job sometime in their careers to get away from a difficult boss so they could make their overall lives better.  
 
“Having a bad manager is often a one-two punch: Employees feel miserable while at work, and that misery follows them home, compounding their stress and negatively affecting their overall well-being,” the researchers say.
 
Since the majority of our readers are leaders, I’ll tell you Gallup says that your actions (and your boss’s actions toward you) account for at least 70% of your employees’ engagement at work.
 
How to Engage People
So what’s the solution? How can you improve the workplace and engage the people you lead?
 
Through their work, the researchers have found three behaviors by managers have the strongest links to employee engagement:
 
1) Continuous, Open Communications
As in any relationship, communication is critical. Gallup finds that the best practices for engaged employees are daily communication, whether it be face-to-face or through technology and regular meetings. But workers also want leaders who show they care about them as people and are comfortable sharing who they are off the job.
 
2) Help with Performance Management
Leaders with highly engaged employees don’t rely on annual performance reviews as their main event. They set clear expectations on performance goals, give ongoing guidance and hold people accountable. The research finds people want to be held accountable when they have clear objectives and continuous contact.
 
3) Focus on Strengths
Leaders who bring the best out in those they lead focus on building their strengths.  Gallup reports that: “researchers have studied human behavior and strengths for decades and discovered that building employees' strengths is a far more effective approach than a fixation on weaknesses.
A strengths-based culture is one in which employees learn their roles more quickly, produce more and significantly better work, stay with their company longer and are more engaged.”
 
With less than one-third of people enthusiastic about being at work, there is a huge opportunity to improve your organization.
 
These are simple, commonsense solutions, but they take focus and discipline to execute. They’re about taking care of people.
 
It’s worth the effort, because in the end, all growth, profit and success for organizations come from the energy and commitment of our people.
 
You can read the details of Gallup’s report here: Employees Want a Lot More From Their Managers