How to engage your employees-5 leadership pitfalls

How can I empower my employees to be more commited and responsible? How will I build my brand as a good leader? Under the pressure of achieving goals, KPIs in the routine of everyday duties, the leader often forgets that it is thanks to people, not to numbers, that we achieve the organization’s goals.

Here are 5 pitfalls to avoid when motivating the team, that I experienced in both international as well as Polish organizations. If you are a leader or employee who aspires to be the one, let yourself get inspired.


Pitfall # 1: There is no team goal with which the employee identifies himself/herself

Certainly you have a specific numeric goal, e.g. the sales target to hit or the desired level of customer satisfaction. Do you know, however if employees know why they are doing this? How will it help them to achieve their own goal?

A clear and understandable goal of the team in which the employee sees the sense for himself/ herself is critical in building a motivated team.

Helpful questions from the leader to the employee:
– What is important for you?
– What will you take responsibility for?
– Which factors depend primarily on you?
– What do you have influence on?


Pitfall # 2: Lack of interest in their employees does not support the employee’s independence and creativity

Support the employee by giving him/her autonomy in performing tasks instead of using micro-management (excessive control in the performance of the employee’s actions). Use a coaching management style i.e. engage the employee in finding a solution. Asking the right questions will make the employee find an effective way to solve the problem. This will make him/her much more motivated than if the manager gives him/her a ready solution.

Helpful questions from the leader to the employee:
– What has been effective so far?
– What resources will you use? What and when will you start with?
– What step will you take today to succeed tomorrow?
– What do you want to achieve?
– How will you know you have achieved your goal?
– When will it happen?


Pitfall # 3: No employee praise for a job well done or exceeding expectations

The employee wants to be „liked”-he/she works more efficiently then and commits fewer mistakes. Praise consistently and everyone who has done something special (do not favor). Do it publicly – the employee will feel appreciated, and the rest of the team will find that a very well done job is rewarded (not only financially).


Pitfall # 4: No feedback when the employee made a mistake

Dare to give feedback, but remember that negative feedback is always provided in private with the employee. Make sure that the employee feels comfortable during the conversation:

  • Show him/her the error and its consequences based on facts, not on your opinion, e.g. “I observed that the production reports are sent to the customer with a few hours delay, which is the failure to contract and may expose the company to fines” instead of “You are ineffective / irresponsible”
  • Ask him/her for his/her opinion and for what reason the error occured
  • Invite him/her to work out a recovery plan for this particular situation and to get learnings for the future
  • Ask him/her for a written summary of the plan and set the date of the meeting, where you check what the employee has achieved

Helpful questions from the leader to the employee:
– What conclusions do you draw from this situation?
– What would you do differently next time?
– What in this experience is valuable for the team and the company?
– What can we all learn from this?
– What is your suggestion to act in a similar situation in the future?
– How do you want to fix it now?


Pitfall # 5: Lack of authenticity and alignment – the employee will sense fake

If as a leader you expect punctuality at meetings and in keeping up deadlines be punctual and keep the deadlines by yourself. . If you easily get angry and show it to employees, your employees will behave in the same way to others. Be an example to others and put requirements that you can fulfill yourself.