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How Effective Management Builds Employee Engagement

Managers understand the value of strongly engaged employees. It means more productive, more competitive and more resilient organisations. While its importance is easy to acknowledge, making engagement happen is a more complex challenge. Most organisations have not held managers accountable for employee engagement and consequently there's more talk than action on the issue.

So how do you improve employee engagement and create people who are 'connected and committed' to the business? There's no quick fix; models (in abundance!), incentives, surveys, measurement and other tools may help but they're not what it's about. If there's a secret to building employee engagement it's this: "Everything begins and ends with management". Acquiring the leadership skills to improve employee engagement takes time and management effort - all of which are in short supply. Without management focus and commitment it won't happen.

Managers undermine employee engagement

A productive first step in growing employee engagement is to explore what managers are doing to disengage staff. Management 'mistakes' have a serious negative impact on engagement and consequently productivity. They cost money. Poorly handled communication is a good example, such as middle level and front line managers who filter communication coming from senior management rather than boosting it. Rather than intensifying or stepping up the signal coming from senior managers, they have a tendency to filter it out. Managers make it worse when they promote a 'we/they' environment, in which a wedge is driven between senior management and employees, trivialising or demeaning what the business is trying to achieve. Senior management is a 'rock' that all employees need to believe in. Examples like these of course only hinder efforts to engage and retain staff!

To address actions by managers who are disengaging staff, have a look at how management errors manifest themselves in your business. There's a dozen you should be looking for, six of them are presented here in this leadership module >> Major Mistakes Managers Make Part 1.

Give employees responsibility

Employee engagement grows when managers devolve responsibility to their team. Management is essentially a thinking, not a doing job. Note how well your managers are actively growing the engagement of their direct reports by structuring the appropriate tasks (and accountabilities), communicating clear expectations, not falling into the trap of being the 'problem solver' and following up by recognising, coaching and counseling performance, both good and bad!

Whilst managers must develop their team, and we don't mean just ensuring they have the right training, delegating responsibility is a great tool for increasing engagement. When effective managers are providing clear and appropriate scope to act, people feel connected and committed to the company, which is the essence of employee engagement.

Increase employee engagement with 'Practical Sales Management and Leadership'

Practical Sales Management and Leadership is a modular, cloud-based, training system designed to help sales leadership teams grow their ability to performance manage the sales force.  Preview a module from the training system here