Research by Gallup reveals that up to 70 percent of employee engagement depends on the influence and behavior of the manager. That is, management engagement drives employee engagement. As the saying goes, employees quit managers, not companies. This same Gallup study also found that executive teams who actively work with management will increase their engagement by up approximately 40 percent. Executives can create a positive domino effect through senior leaders by following the advice below.
Maximize Management’s Potential
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states that there are key factors required for building high-performance teams. These factors include diverse expertise, mutual accountability, trustful interdependence, recognizable responsibilities, ambitious performance goals and commitment to the mission. Executives almost always require managers to use these factors to create employee teams, but how often do they use these same principles to develop management teams with strong cohesion, collaboration and communication? Well-trained management teams who are united in purpose and function will successfully meet goals, drive change, forecast problems and elicit employee engagement.
Create a Strong HR Brand
Most people think that HR exists to just conduct transactional functions that fill positions, create policies and maintain compliance. Modern HR leaders are strategic business partners who directly impact workforce strength, risk management and a company’s overall performance. HR leaders must be treated as key stakeholders who drive talent expertise, succession planning, employee engagement and staff development. Some HR leaders may struggle to transition from a traditional personnel function into a dynamic role, but executives can help them improve their leadership skills, reformat their thinking patterns and challenge existing training standards. Thoughtful executives will use valuable HR resources to find the best leaders who transform their passions into vibrant business functions.
Leverage Ancient Wisdom
Many inspirational speakers like to quote Sun Zi’s The Art of War, but there are many relevant and insightful texts that translate well into the business world. For example, Forbes magazine recommends the classic Chinese military text The 36 Stratagems. Unlike The Art of War that focuses on deceit, spying and misdirection, it provides tactics for winning, attacking, gaining ground, defeating enemies and managing chaos. Alternatively, The Book of Five Rings by the Ronin Miyamoto Musashi is a classic Japanese military text that defines a philosophic code of conduct and way of thinking. This book succinctly explains the intricacies of various strategies that can be applied to the modern business world.
As a final note, the most effective leaders will understand and respect their followers’ needs in order to establish stability, cultivate trust and refine performance.
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