Ten Great Questions Engaged Leaders Ask Themselves
We spend a lot of time with clients building better leadership mindsets. Anyone can lead, we have found, if given the right tools. Tools for a leader, of course, are predominantly people-centered:
- How do you engage your followers to perform consistently at a high level?
- What will motivate each one to fully apply themselves to their jobs without a lot of hovering and micro-managing?
A recent article in Inc Magazine (find it online here) had ten key questions effective leaders ask themselves about their own leadership behavior. These questions could have been written by us, as they align so well with how we get leaders to build their own self-awareness about how they act and interact with their followers, and how that behavior drives performance up or down.
This quote from the article, presented as “the employee’s own voice,” sums up nicely what a follower is looking for from a leader:
“It’s the emotional commitment I have to my manager, my company, and our stated goals and vision that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning. It’s the feeling that we’re all safe in the direction we’re headed. It’s having a hope for the future, a track for growing professionally, and the assurance of a career path.”
If employees clearly see how fulfilling their role in achieving the company’s mission has value for them as individual, and if reasonable risk-taking can occur in a “safe” environment, much potential employee contribution can be unleashed.
The Simple Shift from Unengaged to Engaged Eliminates Productivity Barriers
Remember, unengaged employees get their basic tasks done, to the minimum standard required to remain employed. There is no creativity, no re-invention, no innovation around their role in the enterprise. Engaged employees explore how to work better, think about what they are doing while they do it, with an eye toward improving how they work to obtain great outcomes.
“When your employees are emotionally committed, they give discretionary effort. Because it’s intrinsic, it comes from the heart, and it’s impossible to beat with any other strategy. People will go above and beyond, they will go the extra mile, and they will do things that exceed expectations.”
That sounds great, right? So, how do you start being the leader who has such inspired troops? Here are the questions to ask yourself, straight from the article:
10 questions leaders need to ask themselves (and answer honestly!)
- Do people believe that I want to hear their ideas and will value them?
- Do my employees understand how their daily work helps accomplish the organization’s goals?
- Do others follow my requests and commands because they “want to,” as opposed to because they “have to”?
- Do others communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when I am around?
- Do I frequently acknowledge and recognize each employee for his or her contribution — in ways that matter most to each?
- Do I regularly offer career path guidance to my people?
- Do employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day?
- At work, do people’s opinions seem to count?
- Do I regularly talk to my employees about their progress?
- Do I help build confidence in my employees by communicating how their work matters?
If you don’t know the honest answers to these questions, you know where to go to get them: Your employees! Keep these questions handy as a regular self-assessment to keep your engaging leadership behavior intact.
If you have questions about how best to build a habitual mindset of being an engaging leader, talk to Brooke or Dave.