Engaging teams and leaders of those highly engaged teams understand that so much of life comes down to the habits and discipline of the team members.
Highly engaged teams have systems and rituals they use to give them great results and you team can have the same results as well.
If you want your team to be more engaged—well, there are some habits to form for that, too. I recommend these five, in particular:
- Plan to engage. It’s difficult to be engaging when you’re making everything up as you go along. Of course, you may find yourself in unexpected situations, with some surprise opportunities to talk to employees or to potential customers—but most of the time, you will have a chance to plan. Want to run an engaging team meeting?
Take some time to plan your approach before the meeting. Want to engage a new client, rather than bore him to death? Plan your pitch in advance.
- Listen. Get into the habit of understanding before you try to make yourself understood. This means getting out of the habit of talking over other people or struggling to assert your point of view first and last. Make sure you always take time to figure out where other people are coming from.
- They Think win-win. One of the best ways to engage people is to present your case in a win-win manner—explaining not just why you want a given outcome, but why it’s also good for the other person. Be proactive about it; force yourself to always think win-win, and to lay out benefits and values.
- Focus on the outcome. Always know what kind of outcome you’re looking to achieve, and lead with it. Don’t bury the lead: Whether you’re talking to a customer or a team member, be upfront about what you hope to achieve. This will give your conversations direction.
- Follow up. Engagement is a two-way street—and while I don’t necessarily think you need to micromanage; I do think you need to give people room to ask questions or to offer you feedback. Get into the habit of asking for these things if you’re not already.
Highly Engaged Teams Morning Rituals
Morning affirmations and goals review
One of my favorite leadership lessons comes from Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The Habit is: “Begin with the End in Mind”.
Many of the executives that I coach implement a morning ritual of positive affirmations while reviewing their goals. They see themselves achieving these goals as if the task has already been accomplished.
They understand what most champions in sports and business have come to understand when they say. “When They Believe It, They Will See It!”
Whenever I get to the office or even start my day virtually, I like to do a walkabout. There was a company in Argentina called Neutrona Networks International, where I was the executive coach for the founders and their management team.
I would fly to Buenos Aires three times a year to work with the team and each morning when I arrived at the office, I did my walkabout. I went and greeted each team member in the company to exchange pleasantries and asked him if there was anything, they needed to do their job better.
I also asked them about their families and how they were doing. If you want to be an engaging leader it’s important to also understand this principle.
“People do Business with People Who They Like Who are Like Them!”
In other words, if your team truly like you and you are engaging and sincere, chances are they will work even harder to help reach the organizations and your goals.
The Morning Huddle
One of my favorite morning rituals and I believe to be one of the most important for any organization is the morning huddle. It’s important to understand the philosophy behind the huddle.
The goal is to have everyone on the team communicating with the leader what they will be working on for the week.
It’s also an opportunity for the leader to ask team members if they need any support to achieve their goals and objectives for the week. It’s important to note that the morning huddle is not a meeting, in fact my team leader in Argentina contacted me and said the huddles were lasting too long.
Our solution was to call it a coffee huddle, when the coffee is done the huddle is over! Think of a huddle in the National Football League, the quarterback calls the plays instructs the team what to do and says break and they come out of the huddle.
I recommend that you have the huddle on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This way you could start the week off communicating, check in with the team halfway through the week and on Friday review what had been accomplished and set the goals for Monday.
I believe by implementing these morning rituals in addition to the five habits, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more effective and engaging leader.
It takes time and diligence to be an engaging leader—and it takes the formation of good, healthy habits. Do you have any tips to add to this list on how you engage with your team or with your customers?