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Leadership Insights for Dealing With Disheartened Employees

Leadership Insights

Running a startup involves taking on many responsibilities. Making sure your employees remain as enthusiastic about your goals as possible is one of them.


Unfortunately, your workers may not always share your drive and passion. Some managers believe that simply leveraging positive emotions is the key to fixing this problem. They believe that workers who are engaged feel both inspired and invigorated.


It’s a fair assumption to make, but one that may not be completely accurate. According to Gallup, research indicates that simply measuring an employee’s happiness (and taking steps to maximize it) isn’t enough to generate the kind of engagement that translates to achieving business goals.


Gallup concludes that true engagement develops when managers focus on “concrete performance management activities, such as clarifying work expectations and getting people what they need to do their work.”


Rather than prioritizing a culture where everyone in the office feels at ease, businesses should prioritize understanding how employee engagement relates to measurable and trackable performance metrics. Upper management should also ensure team leaders are taking a data-driven approach to engagement through either continuous performance management review software or other tools and techniques.


This doesn’t mean managers should place unrealistic expectations on their employees. It’s been well-documented that workplace stress does not contribute to improved performance. On the other hand, it’s also important not to treat employees too gently. You need to strike the right balance between the two.


Making your expectations known and taking steps to actively measure and track the progress of your team as it works towards a goal is still essential. Employees must be held accountable if they are failing to live up to your expectations.


You just need to make sure you aren’t putting staff under so much pressure that their work actually suffers as a result. A management approach based on emotional intelligence can help.


What You Need to Know About Emotional Intelligence & Management


As the name implies, this type of management style simply involves applying the principles of emotional intelligence to boost employee satisfaction, motivation, and overall engagement.


Managers using this approach strive to offer their team members an experience that involves:


  • A sense of autonomy
  • A feeling of competence
  • A sense of their work being related to the broader work of the organization
  • A sense of being connected with a community of fellow employees


The third point is especially important to keep in mind. Depending on what type of organization you work for, there’s a good chance that your team’s work may seem somewhat disconnected from the finished product.


For example, if your company was developing a new smartphone, the group whose role involves selecting or designing the right material for the touchscreen may forget how their involvement contributes to the overall customer experience.


That’s why it’s important to tie your immediate objectives to the broader goals of the company. You want your employees to know that when they achieve a goal, they haven’t just met an arbitrary requirement; they’ve actually made a difference. Recognizing workers for their contributions can have a major impact on engagement.


That’s because, as some experts have pointed out, a certain degree of “love” is often key to engaging disheartened employees. This means fostering a sentiment of warm, positive personal connection with one’s work, peers, and yes, supervisor. Specifically, managers want employees to have the following emotional experiences:


  • The belief that a supervisor genuinely cares about an their well-being and opportunities for personal growth
  • A sense that staff are valued and appreciated
  • The feeling that members of the team share strong emotional bonds


This type of positive emotional experience can help workers sustain their enthusiasm when stress might otherwise make it difficult to perform.


Again, while you don’t want your employees to feel paralyzed by your demands, holding them accountable will result in some degree of healthy stress. If they’re made to feel that they’re actually helping the company achieve a major goal, and that both their supervisor and their colleagues support them in a genuinely caring way, they’ll remain engaged every step of the way.