CQ: An Engaged Team Is Your Most Valuable Resource

Engagement is key to a successful team

Yikes, have you been talking into the dreaded black abyss of Zoom – no or very few cameras on? Pssst…this is a sign that your team is likely not engaged rather than just having a bad hair day. We’ve all had the experience of logging onto a virtual meeting platform where the screen quickly fills with an array of black boxes and only names appearing. The speaker must awkwardly address the empty squares not knowing whether the participants are listening, or simply playing the meeting in the background while binging their favorite TV show or podcast. Nothing is heard from the participants, no comments, no encouraging nod, no questions and certainly no feedback. How is the leader supposed to know if the employees understood the objective of the meeting or are listening at all? Fostering ENGAGEMENT among employees is the key to solving this problem. Engagement is the final pillar of the Sailor’s Sweet Life ACE framework and is the last critical step to improving your team’s Communication Intelligence (CQ).

Zoom Black Wall of Death

What is Engagement?

An employee’s level of engagement refers to how committed they are to helping their organization achieve its goals. Engagement is demonstrated by the way employees think, feel, and act, and measures their attachment to the work and the team. High levels of engagement create synergy where the end result of the team’s efforts is greater than the sum of its parts. Engagement is a “soft skill” , a term originally used in the army to describe important qualities aside from technical combat skills (aka “hard skills”). In the workplace, “soft skills” describe everything aside from the technical day to day tasks that improve your ability to do your job effectively. These include, communication, emotional intelligence, leadership, teamwork, and time management. Strong soft skills are the difference between a good employee and a great employee, a good leader and a great leader. 

Why does Engagement Matter?

So why is it important to have engaged teams? Employees who are engaged are focused, productive, and energetic. They dive into new projects and are proactive in their approach to the job. Employees who are disengaged are “quiet quitters” people who barely participate, reluctant to take assignments, and have a passive approach to work. A team full of quiet quitters is the same as a zoom filled with black boxes, it is unproductive, lacks commitment, and is unsuccessful in achieving goals. 

Jump In or Just Get By

Increasing engagement means having a “jump in” team, rather than a “get by” team. Having a “jump in” team means that each member is invested in the goals and is willing and ready to engage with each other and the current objective or challenge. A “get by” team is one where employees are detached from one another and the ultimate product. Members of a “get by” team will merely put in the bare minimum just to satisfy the requirements and collect their paycheck. The sea of black boxes on Zoom is a classic example of a “get by” team where there is little to no buy-in from the team and even less confidence that the team can be successful. 

How Can You Engage Your Team?

Knowing that engaged employees are a valuable asset to your organization, here are a few key methods for boosting engagement among your team. 

Establish Routine and Transparent Communication

  • It is important for your employees to communicate with you, and each other, frequently and honestly. Check in with team members often, carving out dedicated time to focus on your team members sets the expectation that feedback is welcomed and encouraged. This will create a space on your team where all employees feel like they can express their concerns, new ideas, and their progress with zero judgment. 
  • Tools like Slack, email, and project management software can also be great platforms to allow the free flow of feedback and communication at each person’s own pace without structured meeting time.  
  • Discuss with your team how they wish to receive input and engage with you and the team, that way, you can efficiently use tools and communicate most effectively. 

Share Vision and Goals Regularly 

  • Making certain that your employees are all clear about their personal goals, the team’s goals, and the wider company goals and mission is another key piece to increasing employee engagement. Alignment on short term and long term goals is critical for connection to the company’s mission.  
  • Often there is a need to pivot and shift goals as company needs change, but understanding the company’s broad mission and vision lets employees clearly see how their individual work contributes to the larger whole. 
  • People like to feel as though they are contributing to a greater purpose, and routinely reminding employees why their work matters will reinforce their connection to the team and its mission. 

Provide Real Time Feedback Loops and Recognition

  • Making frequent feedback a workplace norm will make employees more receptive to critique. If team members receive constructive feedback regularly instead of in an annual or semi annual performance review, it removes the stigma around criticism and employees are more receptive instead of offended. 
  • Normalizing helpful or constructive criticism conditions employees to receive feedback on their work without taking it personally. 
  • Similarly, routine recognition will restore people’s confidence in their work, reminding them that they make important contributions and are valued. 

Engagement is the third critical pillar of the ACE Framework, and incorporating each of the three components Awareness, Connection, and Engagement is important in raising the Communication Intelligence of your leadership and team. While engagement is a well understood concept, in implementation, it can be challenging to rally employees to commit to a shared vision. And one size fits all never quite fits anyone.  

We Customize Engagement Strategies for Your Team

This is where we can help! Click here to learn more about Sailor’s Sweet Life Coaching Services and how we can help create an engaging environment for your team. 

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