Four leadership behaviors that shape the ROI of employee engagement

The ROI of employee engagement manifests itself in many ways. According to a Gallup survey of 1.4 million employees in 2016, a highly-engaged workforce has:

  • 25% lower turnover in high-turnover organizations
  • 65% lower turnover in low-turnover organizations
  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability

Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees work better, faster, and harder. They are better at identifying problems and solving them.

In a previous article, we identified seven traits used by leaders to affirm organizational culture. The villain of the piece in employee engagement is office politics. It seeps into organizational culture, and can disrupt harmony, create cliques, and destroy employee engagement. It’s for these reasons, and more, that managers and leaders try hard to eliminate office politics.

In this article, you’ll learn why it may be your leaders who have created the environment for office politics to thrive. A workplace where people feel insecure, resorting to lies, secrets and backstabbing to climb the ladder. You’ll also learn how your leaders can change behaviors to eliminate office politics and realize a positive ROI from employee engagement.

How rife is office politics?

Given the negative consequences of office politics, you would assume that leaders, managers, and supervisors would treat it like a virus, and do all in their power to stamp it out. This doesn’t appear to be the case:

Office politics may not be a virus, but it is an epidemic that is crushing the returns of employee engagement.

How can leaders modify their behaviors to combat office politics?

There are four distinct leadership behaviors that help to determine the level of office politics within an organization. Where leaders do not employ these behaviors positively, office politics thrives.

Modifying leadership behavior and adapting approach will help to shift organizational culture to an apolitical bias, allowing leaders to focus energy on employee engagement:

1.     Lead by example

Encourage truth, honesty, and openness by communicating with these three virtues in mind always. These are values that will help dictate how your people see your organization. It is essential that leaders set an example to be followed.

2.     Don’t play office politics – confront it

The swiftest and clearest message to send is one that says loud and clear that office politics will not be tolerated. Should it become apparent that games are being played, a good leader will seek to squash them swiftly. Commonly, office politics manifests itself at the water cooler and evolves into backstabbing. Dealing with the parties involved early makes the point that such shenanigans will not be tolerated.

3.     Be mindful of emotional response

Office politics evolves from human emotional responses. It is predicated on ego, and ego is fed by fear and greed. Leaders who are empathetic and curious suffer less with office politics. A caring and inquisitive leadership style, where the leader is invested in the progress of the team and its members equally, helps to break down egos and engender a collaborative approach to collective goals.

4.     Communicate with transparency

Create an environment where transparency of communication is encouraged. Leaders should:

  • Share ideas in team meetings, and prompt others to share theirs
  • Help people to learn about their colleagues and break down the barriers of cultural differences
  • Face cross-cultural management challenges head on
  • Lead from the front on the foundations of even-handedness and policies from which they do not deviate

Control office politics to achieve a positive ROI from employee engagement

While the goal will be to eliminate office politics from your organizational culture, you are unlikely to make it extinct. People are, after all, driven by those emotions of fear and greed. Perhaps, then, the best outcome is to ensure that where office politics exists, it is conducted in the open, in an environment of transparency and honesty that ensures decisions that are taken will benefit all, and not an individual political animal.

For further insight of employee engagement strategies and techniques, contact Primeast today.

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