Managers, by their very nature, are problem solvers. While that quality served them well up to this point, it’s important that they make a shift from solving problems themselves to helping their people come to the answer on their own. They can do this by changing the way they coach and develop. Rather than offering solutions right away, they can engage and empower their people by simply asking questions and allowing people to evaluate options and determine the best way forward on their own. Making this shift offers two big rewards. First, managers have more time! This happens because they are no longer spending a big percentage of their time solving problems for their people. Second, and most importantly, their people are more engaged and contribute at a higher level since they came up to the solution on their own, rather than being told what to do.
If we had to summarize the leading cause of disengagement in one word, it would be: disconnects. In our experience, disconnects = disengagement. Disconnects can manifest themselves in many ways, all of which build barriers and walls to engagement. Here are some of the most common disconnects we come across in our work:
The first question you need to ask yourself is: “What are we trying to accomplish?” Is it for employees to understand the strategic initiatives you’re communicating to them, or to actually be engaged in them and understand their role in bringing them to life? There is a difference. I assume, like any well-meaning organization, you want to accomplish both. How you go about this is critical. While the methods you mention may make an impact to some degree, most of them seem like an attempt to “tell” employees what is important to your leadership instead of focusing on what employees are curious about. It is also important to provide the appropriate and safe environment (typically in a small group) for employees to engage in discussion and feel encouraged to share their perspective while learning about the why, what, and how of your strategy.
The second question to consider is: “What are we really measuring?” Is it an important measure for the business? Does anyone really care about your engagement survey other than HR? While everyone wants engaged employees, you might consider questioning what comprises your survey and focus on the key people measurements that are critical to their role in bringing your initiatives and strategy to life.
Get the answers to your business strategy execution questions from the experts at Root Inc. Submit your questions on the hard-to-solve issues your business is trying to tackle from customer experience and manager development, to strategy deployment and sustainment. Email us your questions and look for the answer in the next issue.