The One Mistake Leaders Make That Kills Employee Engagement
This DATIS blog article, “The One Mistake Leaders Make That Kills Employee Engagement", was originally posted by SmartTribes Institute, and was reposted with permission.
Employee engagement in the United States is on the rise!
According to Gallup, “U.S. Employee Engagement Reaches New High In March.”
“The percentage of U.S. workers whom Gallup considers “engaged” in their jobs averaged 34.1% in March, the highest level since Gallup began tracking U.S. workplace engagement daily in January 2011. The previous high was 33.8% in March 2011, followed by 33.6% in January 2012. Since then, employee engagement averages have been firmly locked below 33.0%.”
Why is this important? Because: “Engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. Gallup’s extensive research shows that employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization’s financial success, such as productivity, profitability and customer engagement. Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth and revenue that their companies need.”
Let’s take advantage of this upward swing. The results of engaged employees include better work performance and increased likelihood of fulfilling personal lives. In previous blogs we have discussed proven and trusted neuroscience-based tools that will increase employee engagement, the real reasons your team is not engaged and how great leaders build trust and increase employee engagement. Engagement starts at the top where the culture of the organization is formed. The one mistake that leaders make is they aren’t building a solid foundation where employee engagement can thrive. The one thing we miss is bringing leaders together. When we make that mistake, leaders aren’t engaged. Leadership engagement is key for employee engagement.
As you know, when I find great tools that achieve massive success with my clients, I love to share them. Developing a Leadership Code of Conduct is one great way to get your team aligned and see employee engagement rise in your organization.
Crafting a Leadership Code of Conduct (“LCC”) is a super effective way to communicate what is expected of the leadership team. Note that this is above and beyond your company values which all employees agree to model. The LCC defines what it means to be a leader at your company, what behavior is expected, the higher bar all leaders agree to reach. I want to stress that leadership is a privilege, not an entitlement. This helps everyone understand that the LCC is essential to honor.
How To Create An LCC
It is super helpful to craft the below based on the cultural identity… for example, if the culture has a sports theme, sees themselves as samurais, pirates, etc. then factoring this in to the LCC will make it more fun, more embraced, more part of the team’s overall identity. This increases buy-in and reduces the potential of the below being perceived as a “Thou Shalt” list!
You’ll want your leadership team to craft the LCC. My clients find sending the sample LCCs below help everyone to generate ideas and the first draft. Here’s some sample email verbiage to use:
“Hi Everyone, Many companies on a rapid growth trajectory like [your company name] find having a Leadership Code of Conduct to be tremendously helpful. This sets the standard for who we want to be together, how we want to grow together, what is sacred to us as leaders. Attached please find some examples. We’d love to hear your ideas at our upcoming meeting on [date/time].”
Leadership And Executive Team Charters And Impact
As a company grows it’s helpful to define clearly the charter and impact of the Leadership and Executive Teams. See if the following is helpful to you.
Leadership Team: The Leadership Team is the “in the trenches” team of leaders that profoundly affect execution of the company’s mission, needle movers, growth. The Leadership Team focuses on the How and When. They dive into the details, interact with the vast majority of the company’s employees, cultivate others, keeping things moving now. They most powerfully impact the employees and customers of the company. They are inside focused.
Executive Team: The Executive Team is the strategic “fly at 30,000 feet” team of leaders that profoundly affect the company’s long-term strategy, strategic alliances, new markets to enter, new products to develop, new services to offer, products to acquire, and more. The Executive Team focuses on the What and Why. They dive into the details only when asked to/when necessary, and interact primarily with the Leadership Team—cultivating them, providing clarity of vision and mission, keep things moving to the future. They most powerfully impact customers, competitors, markets, strategic alliances. They are both inside and outside focused.
Here is one example of an effective Leadership Codes of Conduct. I hope it will help you craft yours.
Leadership Team Code Of Conduct Example
We model accountability and leadership.
Everyone will emulate our actions. We must provide the example for our team of accountability and leadership that everyone can follow to success. If you want your leaders to behave a certain way, do it yourself. If your team may not act a certain way, make sure you do not.
We are respectful.
We have strong, smart teammates with great ideas and strong opinions. That does not give any of us the right to be disrespectful to anyone else on our team. We will not interrupt or talk over each other, get defensive, bully, call names or laugh at someone. We allow the whole team to speak.
We are fully engaged and present.
We are attentive and fully present in every meeting. Meetings will have an agenda, be efficient and outcome based.
We communicate effectively.
We deal with issues directly with the person in question. When issues arise, have trust, each party must believe the others have their back and best interest at heart.
We debate in the room, execute out of the room.
We encourage healthy debate, up until a decision is made. We benefit from being challenged to achieve our maximum potential. We are all on the same team, giving the same message to our teams, focusing on relentless execution and the victory that comes from it.
Once the leadership team is fully engaged, this will trickle down through the rest of the organization at every level. Each member will feel safety, belonging and mattering. They will be aligned with the culture and say, “Thank God It’s Monday” because they know their work impacts the greater good and drives the mission, vision and values of the organization.
The net-net of having engaged employees is proven and the process starts at the top.