6 Ways to Differentiate your Organization through Employee Engagement

Think about the difference between a toxic environment and a thriving one. You may notice it when choosing where to shop or where to eat, and it’s especially important when you think about where you work. You can tell when a business is well-run because the building is clean and the people are friendly. The atmosphere is positive and the service is excellent. It’s where customers like to shop and will return! It the employees do not care, do not greet the customer, are not helpful – customers will NOT return!

The people in an organization are often a reflection of the leadership and the environment. Disengaged employees are a sign that the leaders do not demand accountability. On the flip side, when leaders are committed to helping their employees, those employees in turn provide better service to the customers.

Think about things you can do to increase engagement. Here are a few ideas:
·         Recognize and reward employees

·         Communicate often and check for clarity

·         Be flexible when personal issues arise - Life happens!

·         Have fun and celebrate successes

·         Explain why you are in business and why they are important to the company’s success. 

Employee engagement is a game changer, yet many companies don’t focus on it intentionally. Those that do often sit among the top-rated companies in their industry or the top-rated teams in their company. It is well documented that companies with highly engaged employees have less turnover, fewer complaints, and higher productivity, and more profitability.

Though it can be challenging to implement new practices at first, the work will be well worth the reward. Your employees (and customers) with thank you.

Kindness is Underrated

For Leaders, Kindness is Underrated

Would you go above and beyond for a leader who wasn’t kind to you? I always found that the more kind my leaders were, the more willing I was to go out of my way for them. When I became a leader myself, I committed to starting with kindness and it has never failed.

Accepting These 6 Painful Truths Will Make You a Better Leader (July 21, 2016) from Entrepreneur magazine lists six painful truths about leadership. The importance of kindness is one of them. The author writes:

“You may think that your leadership position gives you license to say or do whatever you want. After all, you are there to lead, not to make friends -- right? But you will quickly realize how much havoc you can cause with a single careless comment. Showing kindness may be an underrated value, but it is an important and necessary one. Conscious kindness can transform how you lead your team and send a clear message for how they should treat each other.”

This is especially true in hard conversations. One time, a leader who reported to me was consistently falling short of expectations. When I called him in to meet with me, he assumed I was about to fire him. Instead, I explained my position and then asked, “What would you like to see happen here?”

This gave him a chance to explain himself. He opened up to me and said that he wasn’t happy in his current role. He wanted to take a step back and return to his previous role as a non-supervisor. He had done a great job in that role, so of course I agreed. The shift worked well for everyone involved. If I had come down hard and fired him for his mistakes, I would have lost a great employee.

As a leader, you set the tone for the people you lead and serve. If you commit to starting from a place of kindness, you can be sure everyone else will follow.

Feedback to Feedforward

Giving feedback can be difficult but it is important to do. It’s necessary for the receiver if they want to move forward.

As a receiver of feedback, remember that there is always something that you can learn from this even if you don’t want to believe it. Someone is perceiving you or has observed you in a certain way. 

Don’t punish the person giving the feedback. Reflect on what you heard and put yourself in the position of the giver. If you really want to move forward, you will receive it in an appropriate way so you’ll continue to get good feedback.

Giving good feedback is a gift to the receiver. If you are a receiver of this gift, accept it with grace.

Would you walk across hot coals? I did and here is why...

 

Do you consider yourself to be adventurous? Not me. I’ve never been very adventurous. Riding roller coasters, hopping on the back of a motorcycle, starting a conversation with a strangers -- no thank you.

But over time, I couldn’t just say no to every uncomfortable or scary situation.  I came to the realization that in order to grow,

I was faced with leading 350+ people, meeting and learning about as many of them as I could, and being in a new community and without friends on the first day. As I faced this fear, which for any introvert is as scary as going 100 mph on the back of a motorcycle, I learned that I could do it. And it got easier with each interaction.

I began to feel braver while realizing that pushing my comfort zone would help me grow as a person and as a leader. I started doing other things that scared me. I started big! My friend, Lynnette, and I decided to do the FIRE WALK!

 We attended a Tony Robbins seminar. The first day was very motivating, high energy, thought- provoking, and ended with the fire walking ceremony. I stared at 10-feet of red hot coals. How on earth was I going to do this? I needed to take one little step first, then another, and then another. It’s like a frog crossing a pond – it goes from one lily pad to the next. I was not going to be able to jump over the coals in a single jump!

Prior to walking across fire, I had joined a very extroverted group – Rotary, opened a restaurant, went zip-lining, started public speaking about my passions, and then eventually participated in a fire walk with 7,000 other people!

I learned that after conquering some fears, I felt like I could do anything! I'm getting more brave with every day!

What steps do you need to take to "walk across your fire?"