Employee engagement affects every corner of your organization, from productivity and efficiency to quality and customer service. When you have engaged employees, it shows! And, unfortunately the opposite is true for disengaged employees. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. employees are not fully engaged in their work and are less productive as a result, according to a recent Towers Watson survey. Let’s put your organization in the engaged side of that equation.

As part four of this series exploring Employee Engagement, we are going to review the steps an organization can take to support employee development. Once your organization has assessed your environment, drafted a plan, created an environment that drives engagement, it’s time to support employee development.

One strategy to support employee development and create engagement is through empowered leadership. In traditional organizations, managers set goals, make decisions, establish and manage the budget, set policies, and control the flow of information. In these organizations, managers are the thinkers and planners and employees are merely doers. On the part of the employees, this sets up an attitude of compliance. People’s hearts are not in their work and they learn to get by, do the minimum required and watch the clock.

Within a highly engaged organization, leaders recognize the value and potential of their employees and want to get the most possible from them, so they create a culture and organizational design in which people participate in setting goals, making decisions and solving problems. Employees go way beyond compliance to commitment in their motivation. They want to be part of the organization and are excited to contribute to its success and improvement.

What would happen if your employees truly felt and acted like partners in the business? What if they saw it as their business instead of your business? Empowered leadership is the most important factor to make this happen. Transitioning your business from Traditional Management to Empowering Leadership can happen gradually. Moving from Directing and Doing to Developing and Leading can happen by reframing everyday leadership opportunities, such as the following examples:

1. Solving the problem 1. Facilitating problem solving
2. Doing it yourself 2. Effective delegation
3. Over-directing and Micro-managing 3. Helping others learn from mistakes
4. Arbitrarily managing goals 4. Providing leadership for goal setting
5. Being the only expert 5. Developing technical confidence
6. Being the quality judge and jury 6. Being a quality coach
7. Playing the “God” role 7. Supporting as a helpful resource
8. Protecting turf 8. Bridging barriers
9. Over-dependence on detailed policies 9. Being touch and clear about a few directives and principles

Remember, we’re focusing on small changes which can yield big results. So, keep your organization moving forward. And stay tuned for next month’s newsletter as we delve into the next step in creating an environment for employee engagement: Coaching Employees.