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Leadership Challenge – Ten Tips: Every Day Employee Engagement Ideas


Have you ever looked across the table at your boss and thought to yourself, “You’re an incompetent idiot”?

Chances are, we’ve all worked for someone who appears to do absolutely nothing other than make your life hell. I still wonder how it is that people like this get in to such great positions. Perhaps they manage up really well? Maybe they were just in the right place at the right time? One thing is for certain; they usually treat those working with them terribly.

These questions have been floating around in my mind these past few weeks in light of the Australian Government’s leadership spill that challenged Tony Abbott’s ability.

The feedback from the backbenchers was that Mr Abbott no longer possesses the leadership ability needed to lead the country. Confidence has dropped to all time low and those within his own party have started to see him as incompetent.

Imagine if we had the ability to challenge the leadership in our roles when we thought they were becoming incompetent. What would that be like? For starters, in today’s world you’d probably be seen as a troublemaker who’d have to explain your behaviour. Secondly, you’d be the one who would look incompetent because of your incessant moaning. Hardly fair, right?

When did it become okay to accept mediocrity in leadership? And why don’t many organisations handle these situations well?

Because too many people don’t want to have the awkward or difficult conversation!

So instead, the rest of team must wait it out until someone ‘in power’ notices the incompetence of the leader and hope that they’ll be moved on at some point in time.

What can we learn from the recent leadership spill debacle? Employee engagement is critical if you want a productive and cohesive team! We know that it’s the every day events that make or break engagement in teams.

Lightbulb_Bottom  So here are our top ten “every day” tips or employee engagement ideas for leaders to keep in mind:

1. Stick to the plan.

Nobody likes surprises; not unless it’s your birthday! Stick the plan so that people have purpose in what they’re doing. If you need to change it, consult with your team early to avoid conflict.

2. Say the same story.

Finding a narrative that supports your vision or goals is important. It helps people to relate to it so that they can see how their contribution adds value.

3. Participation.

Invite your team to participate in innovation, feedback, design, and strategy opportunities so that they feel as though their contribution means something. It also gives the ability to connect firsthand and hear the reality of your business.

4. Tell the truth.

No one likes a liar; and most people can tell when someone is lying. The fact is that most people prefer to hear the truth irrespective of how hard it is to hear. The truth lets people make better decisions.

5. Kill gossip and rumour mongering.

We admit that this is a hard one, but making a zero policy on gossip will help lift morale. I used to lead a team where we started each meeting with a moan; whatever people needed to get off their chests. It meant that they could move on from the things that bothered them and not gossip about them in the kitchen room.

6. Have tough conversations.

Don’t avoid them; it only makes you look weak. Tough conversations don’t have to be awkward. The only thing to remember here is to keep it factual, not emotional. If you do this, you’ll get it right every time. Oh, and watch your language and tone while you’re doing it!

7. Make it fun.

Why do people get out of bed to work with you? Having fun at work can really be the difference between choosing to stay or leave an organisation. While the work may not be fun all the time, being able to have a laugh is really important. There’s lots of research that correlate laughter with productivity.

8. Don’t be elitist.

I think the technical term is ‘wanker’. Someone who feels superior to their team. Nothing drives you more than wanting to see this person fail when they look down their nose at you. Just be you; we all know what it’s like to be the most junior person on the team.

9. Have their backs.

Be prepared to go in to battle for your team if needed. Even if you know they’ve done something wrong, standing by their side to share the responsibility sends an enormous message to everyone. They feel safe knowing you’re on the look out for them.

10. Recognise effort.

Probably the biggest of all; acknowledge efforts. So many people think it must be done with gift certificates and formal speeches, but it’s as simple as saying, “Thank you, you did a great job!” .


Good luck!
#ahamoments with Simon


If you’d like help with your team, A Human Agency is here to help. We know which employee engagement models work, how to deliver high-impact employee engagement workshops, training and programs, and lots more; all tailored for you! If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us at or [email protected].

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