How committed is your team? Good leaders know that the success of their teams—including individual performance and group outcomes—can be directly traced back to the level of commitment among their members. A foundation of commitment is crucial for everything from team building and trust to motivation and personal growth.
Fostering team commitment is fundamental to leadership.
Of course, this has always been true, but many leaders today are seeing the importance of commitment first-hand as they navigate the challenges of retaining and maintaining their teams throughout “The Great Resignation.”
According to Gallup’s recent study, currently, only 36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace and 15% are actively disengaged.
So what can you do as a leader to inspire a spirit of commitment among your team members that leads to greater engagement and, hopefully, better retention and team morale?
I’d like to propose that you start with three components:
- Recognizing achievement (lead);
- Building trust (listen to);
- Demonstrating empathy (love).
If you’re a long-time follower of mine, you’ve probably heard me talk about the many ways that leaders can do a better job of encouraging employees by emphasizing their wins. When employees are given meaningful recognition for their contributions, they are often then motivated to continue on with an equal or greater level of commitment to their role. So what does this look like? Be specific and timely when giving praise, and do so as often as possible. Remember to be intentional with that praise too! When you can, either put it in writing or schedule purposeful one-on-one time to share it with your employee. Rewards as a part of recognition aren’t necessary—but, if you do offer one, make sure to allow employees to choose the reward that is most meaningful to them.
Trust within the workplace is something that can often be taken for granted. Just because you’re in a leadership position, doesn’t mean that your team members will automatically trust you. Building trust is absolutely critical to developing a committed team, as it creates the security and understanding that allow employees to thrive. How can you do this? First and foremost, share knowledge freely and be transparent with your team members, as appropriate. Create an environment that is open and safe for employees to share their ideas and challenges. Then, as a leader, ensure your words and actions match. Keep your commitments, follow through and acknowledge or act upon the feedback your team members are providing.
The final aspect of inspiring commitment that I’ve personally seen make a massive impact is demonstrating empathy whenever possible. This is the humanizing element of leadership that further displays a leader’s commitment to their team which, in turn, encourages commitment among team members. You should be practicing empathy so regularly that it becomes second nature. What does an empathetic leader look like? This is someone who truly listens to their team members and develops a genuine curiosity for them, their lives, their struggles and their motivators. With this knowledge, an empathetic leader then acts with respect, care and compassion, offering assistance when it’s needed and making changes that support their employees’ unique needs.
If you’re struggling with inspiring and maintaining commitment among your employees, keep these three components in mind, and give them a try. You might be surprised at the shifts you begin to see. However, make sure that the way you act upon these is authentic to you and your organization. Authenticity is the thread that should run through every aspect of leadership, because it shows your commitment to your employees is more than just for show.
Find the ways to lead, listen to and love your people that feel true to you, and live them out every day