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Research shows that building engagement benefits teams in several ways:

  • Increased productivity and customer service
  • Creativity
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved retention rates

Last week we looked at motivation, what is the difference then between motivation and engagement?  Motivation is focused on what drives and inspires individuals to put energy into their work.  Engagement goes one step further because it is concerned with not just individuals, but with the team and the organisation.  So what builds engagement?  Here are four key areas.

  • Your role. As team leader you need to be motivated and engaged if you want your team to be. Gallup research suggests that a team supervised by an engaged leader is 59% more likely to be engaged. Spend some time thinking about your level of engagement.
  • Purpose. Spend time together getting real clarity on the purpose of the team. At your regular meetings, spend a few minutes checking that you are still aligned to your purpose and asking people to share how engaged they are feeling.
  • Work on positives. Spend time as a team talking about the positives. What do people value about their role, the team and the organisation. Spend time together identifying individual strengths and assigning roles that play to those strengths. How can the team coach one another to overcome their weaker areas?
  • Don’t ignore the negatives. As a team leader your role is to clear the way to make it as easy as possible to do their job to remove as many barriers as possible. The only way you will be able to do this is to really listen to the team. You can’t be expected to solve every problem, but sometimes just feeling heard and knowing your boss cares and understands can help people remain engaged during the tough times.
  • Involve the team in setting goals. When setting goals, don’t assume you have to come up with all the answers. If you have been given a project, get the team together to come up with a plan on how you will work together to achieve the goal.  This will lead to greater innovation, commitment and accountability.

Jones, Holton & Jowitt, 2016

If you feel your team is disengaged, it can be frustrating or overwhelming.  It needn’t be either.  A simple motivation audit may provide a quick, easy and permanent solution.   Drop me an email at and I will show you how.


‘How to coach your team: Release team potential and hit peak performance’ by Pam Jones, Viki Holton and Angela Jowitt.  Pearson, 2016.