The Severe Storm Hindering Employee Engagement
After working with thousands of managers, something has become painfully clear.
Your managers want to be inspirational leaders, but there’s a perfect storm of sorts getting in the way.
There are three things hindering them from being the kind of leaders that help your organization fire on all cylinders.
And when you fix these three, you’ll unlock a wave of potential that has been lying dormant, possibly for years, inside your workplace.
But if you don’t, then you’ll be stuck on a perpetual roller coaster of staff disengagement and turnover.
The good news?
The fix is easier than you think.
The Three Problems Hurting Staff Motivation
Problem #1 – Is This Really my Job?
Many of your managers are secretly wrestling with a question.
“How much influence do I really have on the engagement levels of my staff?”
What’s not helping is a bunch of so-called experts who are actually telling your managers that people can’t be motivated.
In fact, there’s no shortage of books and blog posts on that very topic.
So what do you think happens when a tired and discouraged manager sees a heading like that in their news feed?
Yeah, you guessed it…
They disengage themselves and enter a state I call Leadership Helplessness.
Otherwise known as Leadership Hell.
This is when a manager simply shows up to work each day, but instead of working hard to engage their staff, they end up going through the motions, trying to do enough to get through the day and not lose their job.
They try to look like a leader, but there’s not a lot of leadership going on at all.
And guess what? Their people aren’t inspired, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Fortunately, the science on this is clear…
Managers have a HUGE impact on the motivation levels of their people, as long as they do the right things that produce the biggest results.
Do the right things = Increased staff motivation.
Which brings us to Problem #2…
Problem #2 – Where Do I Focus to Increase Employee Engagement?
The second problem is a knowledge problem.
Your managers will resist taking ownership of employee engagement if they don’t know how to fix it.
Which is why teaching them is essential.
Once again, we have decades of research on our side that point the way, but it all boils down to the Engagement Drivers.
There are a series of drivers, think of them like levers, that when your managers pull on them, it translates into increased motivation and engagement.
When your managers begin tapping into the Engagement Drivers, you’ll see staff motivation begin to rise.
This is good for the manager and great for your organization, but unfortunately, these results typically don’t last for long.
Because the sad truth is, most leadership training initiatives fail.
Remember the last program you purchased or expensive consultant you brought in?
Looked good, sounded great, even moved the needle… at least for a while.
But in most cases, a few months later, not much remained.
Because they didn’t deal with Problem #3.
In fact, if you don’t solve Problem #3, nothing will actually change and your managers will return to their old habits after only a week or two.
And the next time you try to get everyone excited about a training initiative, some of your managers won’t even want to attend.
This is why you must have a plan to deal with Problem #3
Problem #3 – A Heavy Cognitive Load.
Even the best workshop or training session will fall flat if it doesn’t result in a change of your manager’s behavior.
But there’s a science to behavior change and it involves a big fancy word, Cognitive Load.
Cognitive Load is a term that describes the amount of information your brain is processing.
Think of your brain like a computer. When you have too many windows open on your web browser, it slows down your computer because of the heavy amount of processing going on in the background.
That’s what a heavy Cognitive Load looks like and it impairs our capacity to manage change.
The heavier the load, the harder it is to change our behavior because it hinges on us installing new habits and this requires energy.
Since energy is in short supply the brain tries to be efficient and discourages us from creating new habits, especially if they’re difficult.
So when it comes to transforming our managers, we need to adjust our strategy.
Otherwise, they will revert back to their old behaviors, because they’re already programmed and familiar.
So how do you do this? I’ll answer that in just a moment but first, you need to understand one more problem that comes from working under a heavy Cognitive Load.