As leaders, we expect our employees to have the same work ethic and drive as we do. The problem is: That is not reality. So, then, how do you create an environment that engages every team member? The short answer: It’s up to you!

Leaders must create an environment where employees get engaged, and not simply expect them to engage because of a paycheck.

Getting the most out of people takes a lot more effort than just offering and paying them for a job. Employees want to feel connected to the work they do and the success of the company. This is true culture. It cannot come from any committee, activity, program or executive demand.

Be a gardener

As a leader of a team, you plant the seeds of a vibrant and rich culture. Every day, you nurture those seeds by watering them and making sure they have the sunlight they need, creating the right environment for them to be the best they can be.

Respect the individual

Each person is different; so, the amount of sunlight and water will be different for each one. Understanding the right combination to make sure you engage each employee is the key to your success and the success of the team.

But how do I figure out the right balance?

The key to understanding how to create the right environment begins with listening.

Employees will let you know what makes them thrive, if you listen enough. For some, it is money or autonomy, where, for others, it is recognition or new projects.

Every leader’s first task with a new team is to get to know and understand their team. This way, the right environment can be created.

How do I do this when I am already swamped and have very little time?

It is simple; this is not a separate or new task. Every day, every interaction is an opportunity for you to get to know and understand your team.

  • Listen for more than the answers you need at the moment; listen for who they are.
  • Use that information as you make decisions about how your team operates.

Remember; do not make assumptions about people. If you really can’t figure someone out, ask them directly.

Key takeaway: Getting your team to engage is your responsibility!

No matter what is happening around you, it is your responsibility. Their performance is your performance; so, focus on creating the optimal environment, not a duplicate environment.

Remember – Leadership is not about YOU!

How consultation can help

True objectivity is nearly impossible. The reason why is simple: you are always looking at every situation through your own eyes, literally and metaphorically. Hiring an external resource – a management consultant– is an excellent way to gain objectivity – to efficiently understand all sides, all perspectives; to see what needs to change to achieve a work environment that engages the staff at a personal level, building commitment. Contact me, and let’s discuss your situation.