It's been said many times that true leadership is measured by ones ability to motivate and influence others.
Leaders must work hard at motivating people to take action necessary to drive change and to ultimately increase results.
Even though most people would agree with definition of leadership as ability to motivate and influence others, most people still have trouble translating definition of leadership into actionable and measurable steps.
The biggest obstacle faced by many leaders is simply figuring out how to effectively motivate and influence an entire team comprised of unique individuals.
Let's face it, not everyone is motivated by same things, nor is everyone influenced to take action or change behavior based on same factors.
So, what can leaders do to motivate and influence ENTIRE team?
Here is elusive one-word answer: CONNECT.
Leaders must invest time in each and every one of their team members to, get to know them - to build a connection based on trust, honesty and respect. (Keep in mind, this personal connection must always remain professional and appropriate. Enough said on that.)
Taking this one step further, leaders must create opportunities for team members to connect.
This personal and professional connection will draw you and your team together, to work more effectively to improve efficiencies and increase production and profitability.
To help you envision ultimate in a leader that successfully connects with his/her team members, let's look at a fictional example. Any "Trekies" out there? Don't flip channel, this will be quick.
Even if "Star Trek" is not a TV favorite of yours, odds are you probably know enough about long running series to appreciate our example.
Regardless of which Star Trek captain you visualize, all are terrific examples of leaders (albeit fictional) who have a unique connection to each and every member of crew.
It's also obvious to viewer that each team member has an unwavering allegiance to team, mission, and to his or her leader. (envision Captain YOU!)
Just imagine your own team having such a solid connection, both with you and with each other.
Picture you and your team facing exciting and challenging situations together, "Exploring strange new worlds!" and "Boldly going where no one has gone before!"
Maybe this means taking your team to #1 spot in your company, and/or reaching new levels of efficiency and/or production!
The prospect of leading a team that is connected is exciting isn't it?
Ok, we've talked about connection and importance of building a connected team. Next we see that connection is key ingredient leaders must leverage in order to raise level of employee engagement.
An employee that is engaged in their work will typically run circles around employees who are working simply by showing up and "going through motions".
If an employee is engaged, it means that they feel they have a stake in outcome - an honest desire to contribute to something greater than themselves, or even monetary gain.
The engaged employee has emotion tied to their work. Perhaps that emotion comes out of a sense of loyalty and connection to their leader or other team members.
Top leaders understand that in order to connect with their workforce, they need to leverage power of emotion. Only by connecting with individuals can a leader create a powerful team consisting of employees who are committed and engaged.
KEY MESSAGE: CONNECT TO ENGAGE!
Now that we now understand concepts of connection and engagement, so let's get specific and share some examples of how a leader can achieve connection that will inspire employee engagement:
1. Leaders must know up front where they are taking their team. They must "believe in" and "see a clear vision of future". In order for you to know when you have achieved your vision, vision must be measurable. Here are some examples of a vision with measurable results.