Leadership Engagement: How to Reach Employees Not Preach to Them

Leadership Engagement: Focus on Development Not Self-Sacrifice

Leaders, when you face employees who lack commitment resist the temptation to tell them how hard you work. You think you will inspire self-sacrifice and commitment. Guess again! Leadership engagement is about reaching them not preaching to them.

Leadership Engagement: Image is quote by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on self-development

Leadership Engagement: How to Reach Employees Not Preach to Them Image via DecentQuotes.com

Image via DecentQuotes.

Leadership Engagement: How to Reach Not Preach

Self-sacrifice is not an order you give. It’s an awakening within someone, an arrival.

Leaders who have arrived tell others to get there when those leaders:

  • Are new to leadership. They don’t know how to reach others so they preach.
  • Believe that leadership is about themselves.
  • Get frustrated when employees are not engaging at high level.

Leadership Engagement Sad Story

Leader named Carmen was addressing a young under-performing employee. The employee gave reasons (excuses) for often being late and asked for more interesting work. Carmen replied “Let me tell you what I have to do every morning. My wife leaves very early for her shift work. Her mother is an invalid and lives with us. I have to bathe my mother-in-law, walk the dog, pick up the elder-care worker from the bus stop, get her back to the house and then get myself to work. Are you saying your life is tougher than mine?

This did not change the employee’s performance. Carmen’s self-sacrifice doesn’t awaken the employee’s sense of duty nor commitment.

To awaken commitment in employees:

  • Unearth how they think and what they care about.
  • Discuss self-development instead of self-sacrifice. “What behaviors do you think you need to develop to meet your goals?”
  • Then guide the conversation to how self-development feeds the team and the team feeds each individual. e.g. “When you are late, you let the team down.”

Leadership engagement doesn’t yield to the outrage of a frequently tardy employee asking for more interesting work. It also doesn’t hand out more interesting work to get the employee to show up on time.

Step back from frustration, outrage and the temptation to preach. Reach the employee with what they care about and map it back to the organization’s goals and team support.

Is self-sacrifice relevant in today’s workplace? Or is that a bygone era?

My blog posts reflect scenarios I face in my consulting work (with names changed to respect privacy). I look forward to helping you turn interaction obstacles into mega teamwork and employee engagement.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

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©2015 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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I invite your questions, welcome your wisdom, and look forward to working with you.
~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

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