5 leadership behaviors to enhance employee engagement

A disengaged workforce can have significantly adverse effects on an organization's productivity, efficiency and quality of service. Often, disengagement is a symptom of sub-par leadership, but there are several actions and behaviors leaders can adopt to make employees happy and reap the benefits of improved engagement.

Consider the following five behaviors that can help leaders promote better employee engagement, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

1. Show employees how they can achieve their goals. No one can be truly engaged in their work if they feel they have nothing to work toward. Someone who doesn't have clear goals will find it difficult to be engaged in their daily tasks, which can amount to poor performance. However, setting goals shouldn't be the employees' responsibility alone. Leaders who show an engaged interest in their employees and take an active role in helping craft their employees' goals have the best chance of improving the workforce's engagement. According to Entrepreneur, collaborative goal-setting also ensures employees' goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and cohere with their organization's vision.

2. Personify the organization's vision. While an organization's mission statement informs what the organization is all about, a vision statement should "inspire, motivate and align employees toward a common goal." The vision should include goals for both the short- and long-term, as well as how the organization aims to achieve them, according to Entrepreneur. Serving as an example of the vision inspires employees to follow it, which is much more effective than simply directing them to follow it.

3. Become a face of the organization's culture. An important responsibility of leaders that is often overlooked is becoming involved with various organizational activities and events that influence culture. In doing so, leaders inspire employees by showing them new ways to become involved with the organization and reinforce positive elements of its culture. Additionally, participating in these events gives leaders an opportunity to connect with their employees and show them they care about who they are both at work and on a personal level.

4. Be transparent. It is important for employees to see and understand what is happening within their organization so they can understand potential challenges and opportunities their organization is facing and ensure their work goals are on the right track. When employees can see how the work they do as individuals contributes to the overall success of their company, they will be more motivated to achieve their goals. Leaders can foster a culture of transparency by giving formal and informal updates to employees and meeting with them on a regular basis, according to Entrepreneur.

5. Put on a happy face. All businesses go through high and low points, and employees look to their leaders for reassurance during difficult times. As a leader, it is imperative to always keep employee morale up. According to Entrepreneur, sometimes this means adopting a "fake it 'til you make it" mindset.

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