Communicate to Motivate: How Managers Can Keep Their Teams Driven

Employee engagement is a problem across a number of different sectors in the modern business world.

As a matter of fact, it’s a huge problem across the United States in general…

Just consider this: according to numbers recently released by Gallup, lack of engagement costs US companies anywhere between 450 and 500 billion dollars every year.

Furthermore, Gallup also recently discovered that 67% of employees are actively disengaged…

It’s no wonder why increasing engagement among employees is such a big priority for most managers.

Are Managers Responsible for This?

This is actually a complicated matter, but while we’re sure that managers aren’t solely responsible for the lack of engagement in their workforce, they still are partially responsible for it, seeing just how much influence they have over their employees.

In most organizations, lack of communication between management and lower-level employees is the biggest issue, because if employees don’t even feel comfortable talking about their lack of satisfaction, a particular management won’t be able to do anything to improve it….

People seem to agree… A recent study by ATD revealed that when it comes to management, more than 80% of higher-ups believe that most important skill are related to saves. Simply put, effective communication can and will build awareness toward better employee performance.

What is Managers Doing to Improve Engagement?

A manager has a lot of daily obligations – putting different plans into motion, ensuring daily operation are running smoothly, communicating progress up and down the company – among others. So it’s not surprising that some of them don’t pay too much attention to the way they communicate…

But the ones who don’t take enough time to communicate with every team member properly often find themselves with a disengaged workforce…

Let’s get back to Gallup and their research one more time. According to a study on employee engagement, almost 70% of the variance in employee engagement can actually be traced to the influence that the manager has on the team…

So what are managers across the country actually doing to motivate their employees and keep them engaged? Unfortunately… Not a lot.

Last year, Society for Human Resource Management revealed that while almost 60% of employees want to have a good relationship with their managers, only 40% of them actually do. If you’re in a similar situation with your workers, now it’s definitely time to do something about it…

How to Improve Engagement in Your Organization

·         Regular and Concise Meeting

The first tip we have for you is quite simple – if you want to make sure that your employees are actively engaged, you need to start having meetings on regular occasions. And we’re not talking about short daily meetings either – most of those don’t lead nowhere and usually have the opposite effect on workers – leave them bored and completely disinterested.

That’s why you need to have meetings a couple of times a week in order to show your interest in their work. According to Harvard Business Review, workers are 3X more engaged if managers hold regular meetings with direct reports. And if even if you have a couple of telecommuters in your company, you have tools like Active Collab that allow good project management and virtual meetings regularly…

·         Instant Feedback

Logically, since employees seemingly love to have regular meetings, they like to have feedback frequently. The problem here is – managers fear that if they give negative feedback, their employees won’t react to it positively. As Mark Murphy writes for Forbs, research has revealed almost 90% of managers avoid giving feedback fearing they will react poorly to it…

But you shouldn’t worry too much, because most people are quite aware that every comment they receive about their work won’t be overly-positive. You just need to be objective – so if an employee did something wrong, you shouldn’t sugarcoat the situation and tell them directly about the problem you have with their work – and after that, you need to work with them on the solution…

·         The Way You Communicate

The last thing we’re going to talk about may seem a little bit drastic but stay with us… This doesn’t mean you need to change every little nuance, but you have to work on your presentation a little bit. No matter if you’re talking one-on-one with an employee or you’re delivering a presentation in front the whole staff, you need to have a specific objective in your mind and try to keep thing short and focused.

The best thing to do would be to select a specific phrase or word – like motivate or excite – and use to peruse the objective. And once you activate it, objective and intention will inform all aspects of your delivery. This of course includes your gestures, expressions and even intonation. Without specific intention behind your delivery, your message will always feel ambiguous and you don’t want to leave your employees second-guessing anything…

Final Thoughts: Focusing on Strengths

In the end, when communicating to your employees, it’s far more useful to concentrate on their strengths than their weaknesses.

And don’t get us wrong – criticism is actually useful – but you have to make sure that you’re giving someone constructive criticism and that you’re concentrating on improving their strengths.

A 2015 study on the matter revealed that 67% of modern employees strongly agree that when their manager focuses on their positive characteristics, they are actively engaged. On the other hand, only around 30% of them react positively when their manager focuses on their weakness.

As you can clearly see, if you focus on their strengths, they are more than twice as likely to be engaged with the rest of their team…

Lastly, you need to put every single one of your employees in a position that will use their natural talents, add new knowledge, skills and develop their strengths further.

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