15 ways to engage your people and eradicate clock watching

I often say that if you enjoy work more than you enjoy being at home, we need to talk about it. But, thinking about being anywhere but work every minute of the day is good for no one.

Listen to the conversations over a pint on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll hear that far too many people live for 5pm and dread Sunday evenings.

As a leader you have to ask yourself what type of environment you are creating if your workforce feel this way and what impact is this having on colleagues, customers, shareholders and just as importantly the individual and their family?

We all have an individual responsibility to take control of our own destiny. But when you signed up to head up your team, department or organisation you took on the challenge of truly engaging your people.

Ask yourself; what would I need to do to motivate my people to come to work if I couldn’t pay them? You’ll be I the right track.

Here’s 15 things a leader must do, in my experience, if they want their people to be compelled to come to work and not focus on 5pm.

  1. Ensure that your organisation has a strong purpose which aids humanity more widely, that your people understand this, believe in it, see the part which they and their business area play in it and feel that they have a direct influence on it.
  2. Ensure that your people have the knowledge, skill and confidence to deliver their role and duties effectively,and instinctively, with opportunities to be stretched. 
  3. Check in on your people and ensure that a) they can actually do what they need to and b) provide positive reinforcement of what they do well and help them overcome challenges or develop in weaker areas. If you don’t care enough; why should they.
  4. Ensure that the team can ask questions and share ideas with you and make sure that you hear them fully before you evaluate or even dismiss ideas and opinions. Being listened to and considered makes us feel valued.
  5. Empower your people to take ideas and decisions forward; creating accountability for outcomes, strategy development and decision making. People turn up to see their ideas, decisions and strategies come to fruition.
  6. Share the highs and lows with the team and how much you care about what’s happening; the team needs to know you feel responsible and truly are ‘in this together’. This doesn’t mean the leader shouldn’t be clear on the part they do and don’t play and the responsibilities of the team.
  7. Foster an environment in which people can have fun, have down time and ‘shoot the breeze’ from time to time, safe in the knowledge that the team will self regulate, and work doubly hard, once they’ve paused, talked about the kids, football or holiday plans. All work and no play does make jack a dull boy and unproductive to boot.
  8. Tell your people to go home when it’s time to go home and encourage people to find ways to genuinely fit their work into the working day. They and their families will love you forever.
  9. Ensure that the team know that you have ‘got their back’ and that you manage upwards, across and downwards, within parameters, and that you will represent them, as long as the team remain committed and focused on the cause. We follow people that would follow us.
  10. Show an interest in what your people do away from work and take the time to recognise key dates, outside work pressures. Show empathy and joy alongside the team for what’s going on inside and out of work. We want to be around people who want to be around us.
  11. Be clear in your expectations and the way you will measure the team, appraising and remunerating transparently. Fairness never hurt anyone. Inequality burns us to our core.
  12. Develop and provide opportunities for the team to progress as they wish and as their potential dictates; let team members fly the nest when they are ready and ensure that they have helped with succession planning before they leave. The team left behind, must feel that they’ve been looked after. We try to escape shackles.
  13. Make sure your team feel as appreciated as possible; make them cups of tea. Say thank you at the end of the day or week. Tell them to take half a day off when they have worked 14 hours the day before or work from home when they need to. Recognise their value and they’ll pay you back in spades. 
  14. Ensure the team see that you love what you do. If you don’t why would they?
  15. Arrange a family day at least once s year where all families get together and want to get together in your team; bring the kids, have a bbq; show interest and don’t talk shop. Talk about the greatness you see in partners and thank partners for supporting their other half in doing such a great job for you. Family matter, make your organisation a giant one.

So there you have it. 

Let me know what you’d add or take away.


Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

Get in touch today…

If you’d like to experience what working with me is like, get in touch and we’ll see if coaching is right for you. I’d love to speak with you via:

Twitter: @stefanpowell
E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 
Phone +44 (0) 7736942382


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