Why Employee Engagement Means Handing Over Control

January 28, 2015
January 28, 2015 Joe Britto

Let’s face it, focusing on employee engagement can seem like a risky strategy. After all, what if it means changing the way you do business, or handing control to your direct reports?

If the idea of creating more engaged workers leaves you excited and nervous then congratulations. It means you know what’s at stake.

But if not, let’s take a second to remind ourselves why employee engagement makes good business sense. First off engaged employees with high levels of job satisfaction are more productive – results that are visible in your bottom line. But the benefits don’t end there. Expect absence from sickness and staff turnover to be reduced. That means savings in training and hiring. Put those together and your organization becomes a great place to work and more profitable.

Sound too good to be true? According to a recent Gallup analysis, high employee engagement in an organisation means a stronger likelihood of that business succeeding.

What We Know

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Dan Pink showed us that what gets people motivated is autonomy, mastery and purpose. So if your business isn’t set up to allow people the chance to think and work without constant direction; doesn’t give people a chance to master their profession or feel they have a clear sense of purpose, then maybe things need to change.

Why Employee Engagement Means Handing Over Control

Allowing employees to lead within their current role and make decisions naturally means handing over some responsibility and autonomy. If we can take anything from Dan Pink’s work I’d suggest it’s that allowing staff at least some autonomy is a more effective motivator than the traditional reward based systems. In short: to make employee engagement effective autonomy is key.

But that doesn’t have to mean more work for you.

Making Autonomy Work for You

If creating more autonomy in your business means changing systems and processes it’s understandable that the prospect of changing those systems and processes yourself can be daunting.

So how about another approach?

Research published in the European Management Journal that canvassed top public sector figures calls for leadership at all levels rather than simply putting more people into leadership roles in the existing hierarchy. Turning concepts of leadership on its head, they define the approach as encouraging staff to take part in activities and decisions rather than promoting people to management positions or creating new levels of management.

Management That Guides

And the real world application of that idea? How about allowing people to design and implement their own changes under the guidance of senior management. What would that be like?

Well, allowing people to develop and implement their own ideas increases the likelihood of successful implementation but it also means embedding that change is easier. Why? For the simple reason that people who design and implement a change are invested in its long term success.

And what is employee engagement if not people invested in the long term success of the organization they work for?

Leadership is in Our DNA

At Innate Leaders we firmly believe that creating leaders of your people is the key to not only employee engagement, but to successful business.

For us, leadership isn’t a skill people learn, it’s a skill they already have. That’s what we mean when we say leadership is in our DNA. It’s a part of us all. All it takes is the right environment to make it bloom.



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What to dive deeper?

Check out The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset by Joe Britto

Facing a people challenge?

Our approach starts with an interactive experience. We work with your teams to develop the six attributes of a leadership mindset that enables them to work together, model leadership, and come up with solutions themselves.

Facing a practical challenge?

Our consulting ignites a revolution. It grows the six attributes and operationalises leadership behaviours. Not only do your people have great ideas, they have the mindset to make those ideas succeed.

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