Mr.James Stilwell helps organizations in their leadership design and helps to implement ways to authentically engage their entire workforce. He has also taught at the University of Michigan’s Executive Education focusing on building collaborative organizational cultures
Mr. Stephen J. Gill– is a guest contributor. An Independent Consultant for Human Performance
Successful companies have high levels of employee engagement. Much has been written about why this is true and the factors that increase employee engagement. The vast majority of these writings and research findings focus on organizational and structural factors or put responsibility for becoming increasingly engaged in the lap of the employee. Some of these often cited factors include training and development, team building, recognition and rewards, information flow and access, performance reviews, and decision-making processes. Absent from this list is the powerful impact that leadership has on employee engagement. We imagine that as you read this you are saying to yourself, “Of course leadership is a key factor.” But we aren’t talking about giving lip-service to engagement, nor are we talking about having an engagement program, a director of engagement, or doing an annual engagement survey. We are talking about something much deeper that goes to the heart of leadership. This is self-awareness of ones values, beliefs, and attitudes regarding engagement and how the leader’s self is manifested in subtle but powerful behaviors that communicate volumes to an organization about the extent to which a leader truly supports increased engagement. Make no mistake about it, genuine employee engagement shifts power away from leaders and many leaders find this shift unsettling. Here are two examples.