As I pondered this, I drew an image showing where I think managers of highly engaged teams tend to operate. See the star: they’re not micromanagers, but they’re also not hands-off. They flex to accommodate the personal needs of the people they work with—but generally speaking, they have a high bar and most of their work energy goes to helping the team clear that bar.
I was explaining all this to my 14-year-old (his fault, really, for wandering into my office), and he asked me how someone would know if they were operating in that sweet spot. Here’s my 5-point checklist for managers:
- You know and care about your team members.
- You feel known and cared about by your team members.
- Your team members can articulate the group’s goals—and they care about reaching them.
- Each team member knows exactly what’s expected from them—and they care about how they’re doing against those expectations.
- It’s not a cult. Peers aim to delight their peers, not just the organization’s leaders.
What do you think? Are these the signs of a team with at least better-than-average engagement? What did I get wrong? What did I miss? To weigh in, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Yes, I know the lavender is illegible! These are my actual scribbles from my actual notebook, hence the swearing. Top left: “Sink or swim—high churn.” Bottom left: “People stay for a while (because their lives work) but don’t ultimately work out.” Top right: “Cramps growth—of org and of stars.” Bottom right: “Cramps growth—of org and of leaders.”
Image credit: Steyer Content