One thing that hasn’t diminished in value is the constant push from the human resource team to build employee engagement. This, however, shouldn’t be entirely the function of one team, as Howard Partridge explains in his book The Power Of Community: How Phenomenal Leaders Inspire Their Teams, Wow Their Customers, And Make Bigger Profits. He talks about how to inspire people, and help them buy into an organization’s goals and motto. We found a few key takeaways to help you engage better as a leader, and not just a manager.

Be the coach

A leader, according to Partridge, is a coach first. It is his/her job not just to lead, but also to inspire and help others get from where they are to where they want or need to be. Many business owners use the “command-and-control" tactic. This management style unfortunately leads to disengagement with the workplace; and there is no loyalty or joy in the work.

This does not mean that the command-and-control method cannot get work done. It does, but when the boss is absent, the team will slacken. Therein lies the difference between bosses and leaders. The latter will use a care-and-coach method. When team members feel their leader cares about them, they tend to work harder.

A leader should not be just a manager. A manager generally organizes the work and reports data to directors. Leaders, however, help people develop by ensuring that they have all the tools and training they need to help them reach their full potential.

Develop the team

Each person in a team will have a specific set of talents and skills. A leader’s role is to recognize these and develop them individually. This encourages the employee, and, in turn, benefits the entire organization.

The book differentiates between judgemental and observational managers, and phenomenal leaders. The first type makes a judgement about an employee and puts them in a box. Observational managers base their opinion on how the employee does his/her work, and can be discouraging at times. Both types cannot inspire or lead. Phenomenal leaders, however, recognize the skills and talents of the employee and facilitate training to increase that skill level. Training, in turn, leads to more confident and capable employees.

A leader can develop favourable personality traits like time management, etc., through methods that could include formal training, inviting guest speakers, using external training courses, providing private mentoring and coaching, etc. Technical and job skills alone will not be enough to develop a team professionally. They must also be trained in leadership skills, because these are the people who will emerge as leaders in the future.

Be accountable, set an example

Partridge believes that accountability forced on someone cannot work. But when someone is invited to be accountable through support and encouragement, it leaves a lasting impact. For example, if you are supposed to undertake a task, do it even if no one is watching or you are not up for a review. But this is only possible when leaders themselves live by the principles of accountability, being respectful to team members, open to their ideas, and admitting when they are wrong.

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