How Conscious Leadership Can Cultivate Immersed Employees
Our attention is more valuable than ever. With the prevalence of digital screens meaning a distraction is only a click away, employers are fighting to keep their people engaged, listening and focused.
By Natasha Wallace, CEO of TCLC (The Conscious Leadership Company)
It is a worthy concern, since engaged team members are 84% more likely to be recognised and rewarded for their work, meaning they are subsequently better connected to their colleagues and the mission of the company. By maintaining engagement and immersing staff in their work, people remain in their roles and organisations thrive.
Yet, recent years have seen disengagement come from new sources. The effects of the pandemic meant that teams were suddenly forced to work remotely, creating a breakdown in communication and connection as organisations adjusted to the new normal, leaving many employees feeling a loss of belonging. Post-pandemic, exhaustion and burnout have subsequently led to 41% of employees considering leaving their jobs, according to a recent Microsoft Corps survey.
Today, work is so integral to our wellbeing that many people want to find purpose, meaning and satisfaction in their roles, rather than simply viewing their job as a paycheck. In the aftermath of the pandemic, that loss of belonging and perceived lack of purpose has continued to affect employees, leaving many to pursue roles elsewhere. Many of those who remain are increasingly disengaged and unproductive – leaving only 36% of US employees engaged at work, according to the most recent Gallup study.
In the modern, digital-led working world, how can leaders now foster connection in their employees to keep them engaged, immersed and achieving?
The solution lies in a more conscious approach to leadership. By incorporating a holistic approach to working together, leaders can make sure their employees are aligned with a sense of purpose and encourage meaningful connections with each other. It’s this sense of togetherness that acts as a key differentiator between mediocre and high performing teams.
It all starts at the top, with leaders fostering a culture of consciousness, leading with self-awareness and authenticity, and ultimately setting an example for healthy workplace behaviours. The support that stems from quality leadership is even more important since Gallup estimates that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.
Developing conscious leaders is an ongoing process and here are some steps you can take to embed consciousness into your business.
DEVELOP SELF-AWARENESS AND EMPATHY
Conscious leaders foster empathy to put themselves in their employees’ shoes, allowing them to respond effectively to the issues at hand. A self-aware leader also pays attention to their emotions and its effects on their management style.
By ensuring that leadership development provides the space to allow leaders to build these capabilities, they will not only better connect with their teams but they will also optimise their own performance.
VALUE OPEN COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION
Feedback is a vital means of growing the effectiveness of a team through constructive and solution-focused discussion. By encouraging leaders to ask for feedback from their teams and vice versa, channels of honest communication will be opened and trusting relationships formed. This isn’t about everyone sharing their random observations about each other, it’s about creating an adult-to-adult environment where everyone takes accountability for their behaviour and recognises that there is always room for improvement. When colleagues can be honest with each other about what’s working well and what would be better, it creates a safe sharing space that benefits everyone.
FOSTER A SENSE OF BELONGING
Humans are naturally predisposed to want to belong – so much so that recent studies have shown social exclusion to be experienced as physical pain. We need to feel that we fit with the people around us, that we are accepted and that our contribution is valued. Conscious leaders recognise this and work in an intentional way to include everyone in the conversation. They also recognise the efforts, needs and ambitions of each team member, and help to focus their efforts as a consequence.
MAKE YOUR EXPECTATIONS CLEAR
The simple act of setting clear expectations for what your team needs to achieve can create connections in the workplace. People take ownership of their work when they feel confident in knowing what they must deliver, and they can focus their efforts on the work that matters the most. Being able to provide clear direction is a central skill for effective leaders and the impact on performance can be profound. It’s an ongoing job too, since providing direction is something that the team should always be doing.
Conscious leaders set clear direction and recognise hard work and effort, and bring people together, building connections to achieve more through capitalising on the sum of all parts.
Fostering a sense of psychological safety is fundamental to enabling connection in the workplace and it can only come from leaders who understand their own behaviours. Through ongoing self-reflection and personal learning, leaders can assess the ways in which they might be hindering connections, creating disengaged team members and missing out on the benefits that immersed employees bring to work.
Taking a psychometric assessment with The Conscious Leadership Company's proprietary platform and consciously self-led leadership development app, helps leaders to build this awareness of themselves and others. Knowledge always begins with the self and in better understanding your leadership habits, stress and trigger points, you can learn to lead in a modern context and create a thriving, immersive workplace for the future.