7 Employee Engagement Tips for Team Leaders

Cindy Ventrice

Employee engagement can be tricky especially during a crisis or major change (which seems to be most of the time, doesn’t it?). What makes it more difficult is that as a team leader you don’t have much discretionary time to spend on morale. You need ways to engage your employees that don’t consume your time. The seven tips of employee engagement listed here take only a few minutes each. Try them. The results are worth your while.

1. Pass it on. Hear something good about someone on your team? Be sure to let him or her know. Receive a complimentary e-mail regarding an employee? Forward it to your manager. Did a customer send a note complimenting your team? Read it at your next meeting. Better yet, invite the customer to join you and your team for lunch, and let them tell your team why they are so valuable. When you hear good news the one thing you never want to do is hoard it. Psst… pass it on!

2. Say good morning. Say good morning to the people on your team. Does this sound too simple to really have any affect on engaging people? Yet it works. It is simple and very effective. People are loyal to, work hard for, and want to be associated with those they have a positive relationship with. So, make eye contact, smile, say good morning and ask a friendly question.

Are you in a different time zone than much of your team? You don’t have to be face to face to be effective. Leave a voicemail before you leave in the evening or before they arrive in the morning. Aim for your greeting to be the first they hear when they check their messages.

3. Set clear expectations. Your team wants to know what you expect. To determine whether they have the information they need to be most productive, ask yourself:

  • Have I set measurable team goals?
  • Do my team members know how their job fits into the team goals?
  • Am I interested in how the job gets done or is results what really matters?

Clarify what you expect because solid expectations create the foundation for a more engaged team.

4. Know what your team is working on. Are you up to date on what your team is doing: roadblocks they’ve stumbled across, resources they need to access to and successes they have achieved? Your team wants to feel connected and part of that connection is having a leader who is aware of project peaks and valleys, supports them as they work towards their goals, and can represent them to those outside of the team.

5. Trust your team. Show that you trust your people, and you demonstrate that you respect them. It is one of the most powerful ways to instill loyalty and boost productivity. You can show that you trust the members of your team by letting them work from home or a have a flexible schedule whenever possible. Trust that they will get the work done, and they will. Your confidence in their abilities will motivate them to achieve more. Trust your team and, in most cases, they will live up to that trust.

6. Cheer team effort. People are motivated by what they achieve and who they are affiliated with. Cheer them on. Recognition reinforces what your team already values. Send out an e-mail and copy your manager. Plan a small celebration and present a team award. Praise the team at your next meeting.

7.Leave an impression at the end of the day. Research shows that what happens last makes the greatest impression; it is what is most memorable. Think about the impression are you leaving your team with at the end of each day. You might try a quick meeting to announce a success, an e-mail update with a note of encouragement or a message by the time clock or coat rack. End the day on a positive note whenever possible.

Motivating and leveraging engagement with your team doesn’t require sophisticated skills or much time. What it does require is consistency, awareness and the desire to keep your team working at the highest possible level.

First published as weekly tips from the Make Their Day subscription service. www.maketheirday.com