I’m sure you’ve heard this statistic – the most common reason people leave their jobs is their immediate boss. Gallup surveys show this again and again. Disengagement with the boss leads to disengagement with the job and the organization. So, as a leader in your organization, what are you doing to engage your team?
One key way to engage team members is to invest in them. More than salary and benefits, how can you invest in your team in a meaningful way? It’s not about just sending them off to expensive seminars or conferences – although at times these may be appropriate. No, I’m talking about everyday opportunities, many of which have little or no direct financial impact.
Here are some ideas:
- Invest your time getting to know your team members as people. Do you know anything about their interests outside of work? What about their career goals? What issues are important to them? This doesn’t mean you need to know all about their personal lives, or that you need to spend hours each day talking about things that aren’t directly related to your organization and its goals. But recognize that people feel valued when you, as a leader, take time to talk to them about what they find important.
- Provide opportunities to learn. This might look like training to enhance current skills or develop skills needed for future roles. Or it could be coaching, internships, outside education, or opportunities to attend meetings with different parts of your organization. Perhaps you might create an office library, including audio versions of books and articles to increase accessibility.
- Allow flexibility to work on special projects that are of interest to team members. This provides for growth and personal development for your team members while they work on projects that benefit the organization.
- Invest time to develop your team as a team. Make it part of your regularly scheduled meetings to include a few purposeful team development activities. You may want to sometimes dedicate time just for team development. Make it something you do on a continual basis for the greatest impact and engagement.
When I think about the best leaders that I’ve had, the ones who’ve inspired me to achieve even more than I thought I could, they all had something in common. They made me feel that they sincerely cared about my welfare and success. They believed in me and were willing to invest in me. What about you?