Five Keys to Engaging Your Team

Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. – Bill Bradley

A recent Gallup story ( revealed that less than one third (31.5%) of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014. While that was an improvement over 2013 figures, a majority of employees, 51%, were still “not engaged” and 17.5% were “actively disengaged” in 2014 – according to the story.

It goes without saying that employee engagement is critical to the success of any organization. But with numbers like these it makes the leadership challenge more pronounced. How you position yourself as a leader is essential. Your engagement can’t be underestimated.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” The secret to your success is your people. They secret to their success is you--getting out of their way. Walking the tightrope of leadership is definitely a challenge but not impossible if are ready to get in the trenches and engage your people. They need a compelling reason to be engaged. Here’s where to start.

Your team needs a compelling leader
Before your team can buy in to your vision they first must buy in to you. If you do not inspire them to dream beyond their own limitations and work for a greater cause and purpose then don’t expect them to be engaged in something that makes no sense to them. If your people aren’t connected to you they won’t be connected to your vision.

Your team needs a compelling vision
Your team members must have a compelling vision if you want them to be engaged. When your people know the purpose behind what they are doing they will do it with passion. The formula breaks down like this: T (tasks) +P (passion) = E (engagement). T (tasks) - P (passion) = W (work). Passionless work leads to disengaged teams. Your team needs a clear vision of where they are going and why.

Your team needs a compelling example
Your team members need a leader who not only points the way but walks the road with his or her people. They need a leader who sees what they see, hears what they hear, feels what they feel, and shows by example that they have skin in the game. Bridging the gap with disconnected team members and you as a leader begins by setting the example. If you are not engaged then why should they be?

Your team needs a compelling trust
Your team needs to know that you trust them and that you have their backs. Nothing will lead to disengagement faster than a leader who does not empower and trust his people. It is your responsibility as a leader to set the bar high and hold people accountable. When your level of trust exceeds your level of expectation then your people will outperform your dreams. Empower your people with trust and engagement will rise with it.

Your team needs a compelling culture
It’s not a secret that the key to any thriving organization is one that is built on strong community. Strong relationships are the key to your success. When your team is centralized around strong leadership that sets the example, when your purpose is clear, and trust abounds, you have a culture that is ripe for success.

An engaged team needs compelling reasons for the journey. Begin with the ones I’ve outlined and build upon them. Your success depends upon it.

© 2015 Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker and columnist. He is the author of three leadership books. A Lowcountry resident, Doug is available to speak for your civic, business, or church group. Visit for more information.

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