Leadership Style and Employee Engagement

11 Nov 2013 – Jappreet S – Featured –


Employee Engagement & Leadership style go hand in hand. Everyone knows that an inefficient leader produces a dissatisfied, unproductive employee. On the other hand, good leaders produce committed, engaged and productive employees.


Is Employee Engagement Important?

A study of 160,576 employees working under 30,661 leaders in different organisations around the world showed that the average commitment level of employees under bad leaders was very low whereas the average commitment level of employees under the best leaders were very high.

The ratings were given by bosses, colleagues, etc. using 360 assessment of leadership abilities. The workers under bad leaders were also unhappy and the ones working under good leaders were more committed than most of their counterparts.

According to Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, the world leaders in leadership development consulting, there are two different styles a leader can adapt to engage employees. In one approach the leaders are called the drivers and in the other approach the leader is called the enhancer.


The Driver Style of Leadership & Employee Engagement

The Driver sets high standards for excelling for the employees. They make the employees expand their goals and aspire to things that are beyond their original goals. They keep the employees focussed on the highest priority goals and objectives and also help them in achieving those goals and objectives.


The Enhancer Style of Leadership & Employee Engagement

The Enhancer type of leader helps in solving the issues and concerns of the employees, and also acts as a role model for them. They give essential feedback in an honest and helpful way, develop people and build trust.


Which Style of Leadership Gives Higher Employee Engagement?

Which of these two approaches to employee engagement works best? In an informal survey about this, the Enhancer type of leader got the most approval. Also, most leaders believe that employee commitment can be enhanced if the leader is a nice person.

But the numbers show a different story. In a survey, the employees were asked about their level of engagement on a scale of 1 to 5, and also if their leaders were enhancers or drivers. Those leaders who scored 75th percentile were judged as effective drivers or enhancers.

From this data it was found that 8.9 % of employees who judged their leaders to be effective drivers, and not enhancers, rated themselves in the top 10% in terms of employee engagement.


One Style of leadership is not Good Enough, Go for a blend

This analysis shows that being a just driver or an enhancer is not sufficient. Both approaches of leadership are needed for successful employee engagement.

68% of employees under leaders who were both enhancers and drivers scored in the top 10% in satisfaction and engagement in the organisation.

So it is clear that it is not enough to determine which approach is better. Instead, leaders should include both approaches to create highly engaged employees and also be considerate, trustworthy and collaborative in their interactions with employees.

So a leader who is a driver should try to be the nice guy, and the leader who is a nice guy should be firmer and set more demanding goals for his employees.

Both the leadership styles should be used together like the oars of a boat,with equal force so that maximum employee engagement is achieved.

Managing Remote Teams: Working Together To Achieve Common Goals!

08 Nov 2013 – Shaambhavi Pathak – Featured –


Before the era of virtual presence, it was of essential importance that the teams needed to be in the same workspace for effective working. However, with advent of technology, similar goals can be achieved by people even when they are thousands of miles apart.


Technology has brought us closer. The team members may be in different continents; speak different languages and may be from different cultures but are driven by same urge to excel.


Although, this sounds like something which benefits organisations vastly, yet, management of such teams is challenging even for the most experienced leaders.


However, these challenges can be overcome by keeping these simple points in mind:

1. Work with the right team members

A right team works from galaxies afar. Lookout for the following traits before short-listing candidates for your task:

The team members should be self-motivated. They should be able to work independently on their own.

The individuals should have good communication skills. This is because the contact is not frequent, so, workers must have good people skills. They must also be fluent with web-technologies such as webcams or skype.

The team must be result-oriented. They should set real-time objectives and be able to achieve them. They must be comfortable when evaluated against key performance indicators.

The team members should be honest and open. They should be reliable when it comes to problems and their solutions and feedback.


2. Defining the team purpose

It works wonders with geographically dispersed team to work around a common objective to achieve. All team members should agree to the team goals.

The creation of a team charter works perfectly for this purpose. It is basically like a roadmap for team and ensures that everybody is focused right from start.

The team charter works on SMART framework. It comprises of following attributes:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

The team charters come in handy when there are obstructions. For example, working from remote locations can build in stress and loss of focus. The team charter will boost up morale and get workers on board again.


3. Developing strong team dynamics

Whether it’s a new team or recruiting members to an existing team, team dynamics must be kept in mind. Managing team relations is already difficult in shared office space but it becomes all the more challenging when team is dispersed across globe.

If you want to improve team dynamics, stay tuned for these warning signs:

Reduced output
Short and indifferent emails
Avoidance to participate in conference calls
Shortage of new working ideas

If you are facing such problems, then you need to take steps immediately. There are various measures which can be undertaken. For instance, most teams abide by:

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

This strategy is followed as soon as team creation. Identify the stage where you team is and work accordingly.


4. Feedback and performance reward

Feedback is an essential tool for improving team moral and performance. It assumes more important role in case of geographically dispersed employees.

Stay in touch with your team members. In a shared office environment, it is easy to keep a check on the employee’s work and compliment him on good work. However, if the same employee is working from another continent then, the feedback portal is more formal. For instance, a phone call can be scheduled or feedback via email is more prudent.

The feedback process must be fair as well as consistent.

Make sure your incentives are fair and equal. This will ensure loyalty and boosted performance from your team.


5. Team bonding

The team should be close knit. This is as important as it is to choose right workers. The team members must be united by the same cause. As a team leader, the manager must ensure creative ways to bring the team closer.


Here are some suggestions:

  • Set up a forum page on the intranet. Include the photographs of team members to make the workplace more personalised.
  • Develop a virtual team room. It is the equivalent of the coffee-break space of your office. The employees can share information and some fun time in getting to know each other.
  • Be tolerant to the linguistic barriers. Make sure there are language guidelines during con calls and keep checking if everyone is able to follow the discussion.
  • The geographically dispersed teams offer huge incentives. They are efficient, cost cutting and you get to choose from the best quality and best skills around. Value your team members and let them know they are worthy even though you cannot meet them frequently.

The Butterfly Affecting Teams

01 Nov 2013 – Loretta Ritorto – Featured –


There is nothing more inspiring than working in or observing a high energy – high performing team.


Building a successful team requires continuous effort and forward planning. Just because everyone is performing well now does not mean that it will continue. Some leaders believe that once they have recruited the right individuals everything will automatically fall into place.


But when things don’t go as planned it is easier to lay blame on external influences. Group dynamics and particular individuals who you believe “rock the boat” or “are not suited to the role” form the basis of your analysis and conclusion.

Over a period of time teams that are not monitoring themselves will fall apart. Look for these early warning signs:

  • Arguments replace team discussions
  • Resentment is allowed to fester
  • Voting replaces consensus

One of the most common complaints I hear from Managers and Leaders are;
“We used to be a tight nit team”, “We worked well together” and “I want to boost team morale”.

These statements are the result of unintended consequences with outcomes that were not anticipated. Another simple analogy is to adopt the principle of “The Butterfly Effect“. A popular hypothesis in chaos theory which states that in any dynamic system, small initial differences may over time lead to large unforeseen consequences.

When the team begins to drift off track you can be certain that the butterfly effect has been set in motion. A series of small events will eventually have a cumulative impact. No one is aware of what is happening and if allowed to continue, the once high performing team will lose focus. The team will only realise this impact when something major happens – i.e. new manager or a key team member leaves.
There are many other reasons why the team loses focus; they become victims of their own success, they stop taking risks, team members are replaced.

More warning signs;

  1. Team members feel that team meetings are a waste of time
  2. Interpersonal conflicts within the team
  3. Crisis management becomes part of the daily routine – unrealistic priorities and deadlines are set
  4. Your team is not getting recognised – no one feels valued


Bring the team together for an open, honest and non-defensive discussion. Ask them how they feel about the current situation. Your questioning techniques should be open ended/probing questions to encourage dialogue. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to speak and be heard. It is important that all viewpoints are noted. People need to know that their feedback and opinions are valued and recognised. It is also important not to get defensive during the open and honest discussion. Displaying a defensive and hostile attitude will only build resentment and cause the team to fall apart. Respect and trust will walk straight out the door – along with key employees.

Revisit the vision and purpose of your business – agree on the operating guidelines that guide how everyone fits in and works together. Then focus on problem solving; “what needs to be changed” and “what is our next course of action”.

Everyone should be asking themselves these questions:

  • Do we trust each other?
  • Do we feel free to communicate openly?
  • Do we understand our team goals?
  • Are we committed to the team and our function?
  • Are all our abilities recognised?
  • Does everyone participate?
  • Are we given the opportunity to voice our opinions without put downs and ridicule?
  • Do we respect each other and our differences?
  • Do we enjoy being members of this team?

Taking time out to refocus on the team’s purpose will allow you to set a new course of action that will take you where you want to go.

Acts of Kindness During Holiday Team Building

24 Oct 2013 – Colette Johnston – Featured –


A holiday team building event is an excellent way to engage employees in motivational participation, reward them by conducting it in a fun and entertaining way, and to make it memorable by choosing “charity” as the theme. The yuletide season is, after all, a time for giving and sharing, as much as receiving.


There are many ingenuous ways to create team building activities which will not only benefit employees and management, but also other less privileged individuals. The elderly, orphans, homeless, battered women, the list is endless for opportunities that a charitable-themed team building event can engage in.


Make a Senior Smile

Corporate social responsibility plus public service equals an occasion to put team building skills already learned – communication, problem solving, trust, among others – into action. Focusing on objectives such as social consciousness, interaction with different people of varying age groups, etc., can be accomplished by spending a team building day in a senior care facility.

Helping facility residents – many of whom do not have the chance to enjoy the holidays with their families – build their own holiday tree and other decorative ornaments and trimmings can be the challenging aspect of such a team builder, if it is professionally facilitated.


There’s Teamwork in Charity

By having several employee groups team up with groups of seniors, employees get to practice teamwork and their soft skills on seniors and come up with a winning tree and various holiday crafts which could serve as gift exchanges for the seniors during the holiday season.

Prizes can be given to seniors in the form of colorful water bottles, insulated coffee mugs, leg warmers, pillows, blankets, and other items useful to them, while individualized cups could be handed out to the winning employee participants. That translates to charity given with enthusiasm and teamwork done in harmony.


The Time and the Effort Count More

Another way to do a team builder in a charitable setting is to spend that day with the disabled, specifically those wheelchair-bound individuals. The large group can be broken into teams, with the patients in several groups partnering up with the employee teams.

Helping them decorate their wheelchairs will give the patients a boost in their self-esteem, while enabling the team building participants to practice learned skills and gain new ones in the process such as innovativeness, creativity, time management, etc.

The prizes do not have to be expensive. They can be in the form of winter apparel such as socks or gloves, or practical items such as small tote bags or pill cases. Again, in activities with charitable themes, monetary compensation is the last thing on anybody’s mind. It’s really the time, effort, and giving back that count.


Make It a Joint Venture this Year

Team building during the holidays can be so much more meaningful if merged with public service. Selecting a professional team building facilitator that can help customize specific needs of employees, such as the Magnovo Training Group, will reduce the hassle of creating the agenda, objectives, other logistics that go into team building exercises and gives meeting planners more time to focus on other details.

Should employees decide on a charity-themed holiday team building event, management can do its part by pointing them in the direction of the company’s strategic charity partnership.

Instead of having a holiday party and a separate holiday team building workshop, make it a “joint venture” this year. Team building for charity gives to those who are in need and, in an altruistic exchange, charitable giving makes a difference in the lives of the employees as well.

Creating Excellence Within Teams By Developing Motivational Action Plans

18 Oct 2013 – Keoagile Khiba – Featured –



What comes to mind when most people hear or read about motivation?  Pictures or audio bytes from an individual they’ve come to recognise as a motivational speaker or guru?


Few people are aware motivation can be accurately identified, scientifically measured and properly managed to develop business teams whose members are aligned and optimally synchronised. When all members of a business team understand and know what the ‘hot buttons’ of each team member are, such a team is enabled to perform optimally and is best positioned to produce the desired results.

Why is important to identify, measure and manage motivation? And, can it be done?

Yes, it can be done. And once measured, motivation can be managed.

When motivation is identified, measured, and properly managed, it becomes easy to do several things, amongst which are:

  1. create motivational action plans for individuals – motivational action plans are derived from an individual’s top 3 motivators;
  2. develop syncronised teams that understand each team member’s top 3 motivators and how to derive maximum benefit from these;
  3. enhance individual performance because each team member would be operating from within their ‘zone’, that area where they feel much consciously competent;
  4. achieve the business team’s most wanted results because the incidence of ‘square pegs in a round hole’ would have been greatly diminish.


Motivation is identified and measured by using specific diagnostic tools like the Motivational MAPS Online Assessment which highlights an individual’s top three motivators and one least motivator.


By working through the resultant 10 page report, an individual’s motivational profile can be easily explained and understood. The 10 page report accurately highlights the motivators (hot buttons) that are dominant as well as areas where further coaching is needed. Over and above this, an individual is made aware of the balance within their motivational clusters.


When each business team member’s top three motivators are known, it becomes easy to pair individuals in the team, identify who can work best with who, know who can produce best results with who, and which two or more people should not be allowed to work together because there are areas of possible conflict.


What are the inherent benefits of developing motivational action plans derived teams?

  1. potential conflict is minimised;
  2. areas of possibilities are identified;
  3. teams are developed using individuals who complement and enhance one another;
  4. greater understanding and ‘flow’ is achieved;
  5. where there is flow, there is greater productivity and performance enhancement

In the past, team development was based on untested assumptions, but now specific metrics exist that can be used to develop teams based on the top three motivators and the least motivator of each business team member.

There are inherent benefits in designing motivational action plans for individuals and business teams. Great things happen when they exist!