When was the last time you considered whether your style of leadership could be affecting how your team are performing? Often you as the business owner can be the centre of the issues. In saying that, there are some really easy strategies and habits that you can form to improve your leadership style and the team’s engagement at the same time.

Here are a few questions to consider:

are you a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ kind of person?

If you expect your team to live by a set of values, you need to be demonstrating these on a daily basis. Pull people up (even senior people) on this also.  There is nothing worse for engagement if your team are saying ‘how come so and so always get away with that?’

are you one of those people that defend your opinion to the death, even if you are wrong?

If you do this, it is a sure fire way to kill engagement. People will stop caring and will stop sharing their opinions if you cannot admit you are wrong, or able to compromise.

As a leader, the best thing you can do is to show vulnerability. A strong leader admits when they have made a mistake and they apologise for it – full stop.

 are your team ‘in the dark’ when it comes to your vision and values?

Remember that your team are guided by your passion for your business, they will buy into anything if you take them on the journey and share your vision with them. Sharing the purpose of your business and showing how they fit in with the vision, will improve engagement. Don’t forget to regularly talk about your values too.  When we say regular, we mean just that. Over-communication and repeating messages is better than not enough – every time.

are you that person that can’t remember if you shared the vision with your team, or you think you did it about a year ago, over email? 

It pays to do this regularly and in different ways.  That doesn’t mean you have to do a big off site workshop every 6 months. It could mean, a twice yearly lunch with the team, where you share the goals for the business. You could use electronic means or signage to communicate this also. There is a quote out there that says ‘It takes at least 7 touch points, in a variety of ways for something to sink in. So never give up – variety and regularity is the key!

 do you over promise and under deliver?

Not only will your team be disengaged, they could also be walking out the door in droves or at least thinking about it. A great leader follows through and does exactly what they say they are going to do – and when it goes pear shaped, they apologise and fix it! 

when was the last time you provided constructive feedback to your team?

Once a year reviews are a thing of the past and no way to build an engaged team. If you get the opportunity to provide feedback straight away – do that, every time. Particularly if its to do with a problem or issue. A great leader asks questions to understand what might have gone wrong and then give advice. As Stephen Covey says ‘Seek first to understand and then be understood.’ 

are you forgetting to thank your team, even for the small stuff?

No news is good news, right? Wrong! The number one thing that most team members say they want that makes them feel appreciated, is a thank you from their leader when they do a good or great job. It’s as simple as that! Just be warned – don’t kill them with kindness. We are thankful as leaders that someone is meeting the expectations and doing the job they are being paid for and we acknowledge that. Team members who go out of their way to get the job done, make an effort, and exceed expectations – this is where the ‘thank you’s really come in’.

A final question to ponder, if your team members were surveyed, would they say that you are a good/great leader?  What do you think they would say about you?

If you would like to know more about what your team think of you in order to build more trust, respect and engagement, consider carrying out a survey with your team. If your team is only small, maybe a round table chat over lunch or a few coffee catch ups one on one. Asking a few simple questions, will give you enough feedback to work with. 

If you would like help getting feedback from your team, let us know. We can provide you with a format and process to deliver a team survey along with assisting you to implement, review and make changes to improve team engagement.


Originally authored by Anna Chipperfield.