Wonderful things happen when you care about your employees and work to set everyone up for success. Fostering team engagement is one way of doing this. When your team members are fully engaged with one another and fully invested in their projects, they do better work and find better job satisfaction.
Here are a few tips to foster team engagement.
Be mindful of employee engagement across your team and look for opportunities to engage team members in conversations. Survey your team regularly for their insights and input on current work and processes, how they feel about what they’re doing, what they feel they need to be successful, and what roadblocks are getting in their way.
Not everyone will speak out in the same way. Some team members will be more introverted or more reserved, while others may naturally tend to dominate a conversation. As a manager, you can facilitate the flow of conversations so that all team members have an opportunity to speak and be heard. Some people may prefer to reach out privately, or even anonymously if their feedback is particularly strong or they want to discuss sensitive topics. Take the time to understand the needs of your team and create that safe space for them where everyone can speak.
One of your primary duties as a manager is to help your team and your employees grow into more efficient, capable, and skilled versions of themselves. Take the time to understand individual learning goals and career aspirations of those you manage. Then do your part to facilitate that learning on a team and individual basis. Employees who feel that their manager has a vested interest in their career growth and their success will be more engaged and involved.
Never underestimate the potential for growth and development when like-minded people collaborate on a task. Encouraging your team members to work together on projects is a great way to expand their critical and creative thinking, while allowing them to do some self-guided learning and problem solving. Collaboration can also help to build peer-to-peer relationships within a team and can go a long way toward bringing team members together to act as a cohesive group.
Stay curious about your team members; what drives them, what motivates them, what do they need to succeed? What can you do to help? Encourage your team members to be curious as well. How can we best approach this problem? What are some new, creative approaches we could take? Curiosity is a powerful force that naturally encourages engagement and pushes us to keep asking more questions. Often, the best way to engage team members, especially the more practical minded ones, is to give them a problem they’re curious about.
You can’t engage with someone you can’t communicate with. Having clear, ongoing conversations with your team helps ensure they feel comfortable reaching out to you when needed. Maintaining an open dialog with your teammates builds stronger connections and sets a good example for how to communicate with others.
Highlighting your employee’s strengths is a great way to make them feel accomplished and good about their work. It also lets them feel safe and comfortable engaging with you and others by giving them something that they’re confident and good at. This doesn’t mean you should ignore an employee’s weak areas, though. Start by acknowledging an employee’s strengths and the good work they are doing, and treat weaknesses as areas for improvement and opportunities for growth. Maintain candor and honesty, but do so in a way that fosters a desire to grow, rather than a feeling of being beaten down.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s all about the people. Everyone on your team will have their own unique set of needs, problems, concerns, and challenges. Sometimes they will do great. Sometimes they will struggle. Sometimes they will have more important things to deal with than their job. Treat your employees with empathy and respect. Provide support as needed, and give space when appropriate. An engaged, productive employee is one that feels safe, supported, and trusted.