EP 05 // Three Simple Steps to Become a Better Leader

Ep 05

You may be shocked to hear that 85% of employees are not actively engaged in their work. That’s correct, 85%! Today’s episode of the Open Door Conversations Podcast will focus on how leaders can understand their employees in order to unlock the success they are looking for. One person cannot build an entire empire on their own. We must invest genuinely into those we lead if we expect them to actively help us create and build the company we desire.  

If you are feeling more like a business and team firefighter and less like an effective leader, then you are in the right place. In this episode, Akua reveals her 3 step process for building necessary employee engagement. By following this process and building a relationship with your team, they will be able to prosper and avoid dreaded burnout.  

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What's Covered in this Episode About Employee Engagement

  • 3 keys to increasing employee engagement
  • Self-awareness and how to find it
  • Building relationships with your team
  • Developing communication and expectations with your team

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Each employee might need a different message from you to feel engaged and mobilised." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

  • "You need to set clear expectations, give feedback often and over communicate." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

  • "With an understanding of how you come across, and how you plan to engage, you can develop and set appropriate expectations." -Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in Three Simple Steps to Become a Better Leader

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 05 about Three Steps to Becoming a Better Leader

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah Chaos respond to Aqua. And I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant firefighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time, and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that, think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the open door conversations Podcast. Today I'm going to be focusing on leadership. And leadership for most of us has to do with how we engage and influence others. I've had this conversation with hundreds of leaders over the last three years. And so what we're going to be talking about is how you can become the best leader you can be the best CEO, you can be the best founder, whatever your title is, all right. And if you work within a company, the best performing leader within your company, here's the thing, you can have all the money and strategy in the world and still be unable to take action and lead even with the right data. Because you can get your team or the people supporting you to move in the right direction. What I'm about to share will be incredibly important and useful for overwhelmed and firefighting leaders that feel like they don't have the bandwidth or time to make clear decisions and prioritise this conversation is for leaders who feel like they're too busy juggling responsibilities, and firefighting, to strategize and build sustainable processes. What I'm going to do is share my three step process for increasing employee engagement, motivation, and ultimately, your bottom line. This process will help you become an inspiring and focus leader that is able to build trust and make the most of their team. As always, please let me know what you think about what I'm about to share. And feel free to reach out via social media. I would love to hear if you implement any of these steps or my thoughts. Let's get started. Whenever I start up this conversation, I typically share a number. It's a percentage. It's a percentage that describes the number of employees worldwide that are not engaged or actively disengaged in their job. And this is why I think it's so important that we discuss burnout, because in my opinion, this particular number is very much closely related to the concept of burnout, the percentage, in my opinion is quite high. But I'm not surprised. It states 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or actively disengaged in their job. What does this actually mean? This means that all of us as leaders, all of us who are running companies, and businesses need to really think about how we're engaging with our employees. Ultimately, how we are showing up as leaders and how the people we work with perceive that in order for employees and even for ourselves to be highly productive. To be able to perform, we need to feel like our organisations and companies care, there needs to be more than just making money. So let's break down what this number means. Nine gauge means that employees are psychologically unattached to their work and company. This is because their engagement needs are not being met. So they're putting in the time, but not the energy or passion into the work the second part of this number or percentage that I've shared, and I'll make sure that I link the reports in the shownotes. Alright, so the second one actively disengaged, this means that your employees or your team is not only unhappy at work, and they also say that you listen to this, even as a leader, this might be you, right? So this means that you are not only unhappy at work, but you might also be resentful because your needs aren't being fully met and you're acting out your unhappiness. You're potentially self sabotaging. This is something that I experienced, right? And if you're self sabotaging, if you're not happy if you're not, you know, getting what you need, right? And this is out of life, not just out of work, okay, you can potentially undermined the engaged coworkers, right and engaged employees and engage teams, and this ultimately will impact your bottom line. This is why I think the concept of burnout It is so key. And this is why I talk so much about burnout. All right, so if you haven't taken my quiz yet, I'd really recommend that you take a look at it, because it'll give you an opportunity to learn a little bit more about burnout and learn that it's more than just the physical symptoms, it's also about whether or not you have a connection to what you're doing. So this three step process I'm going to share with you is actually going to allow you to get to the heart of employee engagement, it's also going to help you to as a leader, right, it's going to force you to reflect on whether or not how you're showing up. And what you're doing actually resonates with you. And I want to make something clear, whenever you're working or in life, everything is not always going to be rosy, you're not always going to be happy. But at the end of the day, right, you want to make sure that you're reflecting and trying to decide or trying to see where you really are. Do you have high highs and low lows? Right? Do you have a bit of both right? At the end of the day, you're gonna have a bit of highs and a bit of lows, but you want to make sure that you feel comfortable, confident, right, excited for the most part about whatever you're doing. And the key thing here, especially when we aren't thinking about our teams, right, we're thinking about our employees, the key thing that we tend to forget is that people do things for their own reasons, right? Whether or not they're engaged, typically has to do with their own reasons, the things that are important to them, not things that are important to us. And that's why it's so important that we take the time to engage with our team, if we truly want to influence them. If we truly want them to take action in the right direction, there are three basic things that you need to keep in mind. All right, I'm gonna give this to you straight, right, I'm gonna give it to you straight. If there's anything that you take away from this conversation, you can literally just hit and after I share these three things with you, I'm going to break them down a little bit more. But there's three things that you should keep in mind that will help you to shift your mindset when you're engaging with your team. All right, or if you're engaging with service providers, you're engaging with someone who's looking to support you, what are those three things, the three things to keep in mind to increase employee engagement, motivation, and ultimately, your bottom line? The first is remembering they aren't you? Okay, so write that down. Right? Seriously, this is something that I try and keep in mind when I'm working with others. And when I was leading a team, reminding myself, they are not me. The second thing that you should keep in mind is, you don't know them. Even if you think you do, you don't know them. Alright, one of the things I talk about, and maybe I'll actually do a podcast episode about this later on, at some point in time, is I think the biggest killer of relationships, both personal and professional, is that we think that we can read people's minds. So remind yourself, you don't know them. And the third one that you should keep in mind, they don't know what you want. Okay, so those are the three, that's pretty much it. That's what I'll be sharing about today. They aren't you, you don't know them, and they don't know what you want. And that's why it's so important to engage. And if you engage, both sides will win. So let's get into that first point that I shared, they aren't you. And that's why self awareness is so important. Okay, a few more numbers, just because those of you may be our left brain, this might really resonate. 95% of people think they're self aware, but only 10 to 15% actually are. Alright, now make sure I'll put the resources that I got these stats from in the show notes. Alright, another one for you. Working with colleagues who aren't self aware can cut a team's success and half. Alright, let that land. What does that mean? Okay, that means self awareness. And this is why this is the first step in my three step process. Right? So not trying to learn about your team, right? That's not the first step. That's not the most important thing. The first step and the most important thing is first learning about you, yourself, the leader. Okay, so what is self awareness? Self awareness is your ability to not only understand your strengths and weaknesses, but to recognise that your emotions, okay, and your behaviours, those have an effect on others, right? Not just you, but also others. So really recognise that and one of the things I think that can help you sort of shift your mindset from focusing so much on them, right, the team to focusing first on you is really recognising that what you share with others about who you are, right, what's important to you, what your preferences are, what your triggers are, what your targets are, will be really key to helping them understand how to support you and support your business. But if you haven't taken the time to build your self awareness, and you aren't comfortable sharing that with others, it's going to be really difficult for them to understand how they're supposed to show up and what you need. Once again, no one can read your mind. And honestly, it starts with you. So as you start to build your self awareness, right and as you start to share this, your team, your colleagues, you know, whoever you're working with will reciprocate And they'll let you also know what you need to know about them. So you have a successful working relationship. All right? So how can you start to build a self awareness? three basic ways. The first and this is something I talked so much about is really reflection. And I know for a lot of you on here are probably saying, I don't have time, right? That's the thing I always work with, right? With a lot of these leaders, I don't have time, I really would love to recommend that you make the time and that you start to reflect on some of the things that I shared, what are my triggers? What are my preferences? What is my role, right? What are my targets? How am I going to communicate this to others, the second thing that you can do is gain and get some feedback, right? So I do this with my clients, I do a 360 feedback where I actually interview. So this isn't using software, I actually have conversations with their team, and sometimes even board members, I have a conversation with them. And I asked them, you know, what can they work on? What are some things they do? Well, do you have any advice for them, the last thing that you can do is leverage assessments. And I'm a massive fan of assessments, I actually will make sure that I put a link to some of my favourites below. So these are a bunch of free assessments. And with my clients, I also leverage different types of assessments, I have corporate assessments, I have more more esoteric and out there and more spiritual assessments. And they're just a really great way to get another perspective on how you might be showing up, right? And another way to help you think about what are some of the things I might need to communicate to myself and others in order to move forward? Alright, so let's, let's end this first one, let's, let's end this first part of they aren't you right? And really recognising that we need to build our self awareness. Starting with your emotions, strengths and weaknesses, you can deliberately communicate how people can leverage you effectively. And that is why self awareness is so important. Okay, so let's get to the second one, the second statement that you should keep in mind, you don't know them. And that's why it's so important to engage, right. And that's why in my second step that I teach, I talk about engaging and simplifying engagement. So many leaders once again, right, who are firefighting, are reluctant or overwhelmed, they feel like they don't have the time and space or energy, right, they don't have the bandwidth to engage. But let me tell you, you can really break down engagement into super simple steps, so that everyone at the end of the day is better off just by taking some extra time when you're bringing on a new employee just to realign them. Or if you're taking over somebody else's team, which is what I've done, right, just taking some extra time in the beginning to make sure everyone's on the same page to make sure that you've taken the time to learn about them. And you've given them the opportunity to build their self awareness and communicate to you right, where they want to go, what they're looking to do. That's what builds that psychological safety. That's what makes people feel engaged. And that's why they'll be excited to show up and work really hard for you. Okay, so what are some things that you can do? Or what are some things that you can say or ask to members of your team, right. And so if you've had a team for a while, you can still do this right now. It's not too late, build a real relationship and leverage that information. So you're able to give members of your team the best opportunities possible, okay, it's not going to be 100%. Because once again, 100% of the time, we're not going to like everything that we do, but for the most part, right, this will really allow you to build a better relationship so that ultimately, it's a win win. All right, so some of the things that you can ask members of your team when you're engaging, especially initially, what are your career aspirations? What are your personal aspirations? What motivates them? Right? What are their values? What are some of the things that they do? Well, okay, and if you have direct reports, and you can't actually answer some of these questions, then in my opinion, you haven't done a good job, right. And when I've actually done once again, I've had this conversation or done this workshop in the past, the first thing I'll always get is, well, I have you know, 15 direct reports. And to that, I would suggest, maybe you shouldn't have that many, if you can't have these types of conversations. And you don't know, your direct reports this intimately. Alright, some other things you can share, you can give them the opportunity to share what is their communication style, you can also have them share from their perspective, what are their professional development needs as well. Okay, so once again, it's never too late to start. So if you don't have the answers to these questions, I really recommend that you create the space and time in your calendar to have these conversations and also to have it on file so that when you do have follow up conversations, or it comes time for an appraisal conversation, you have these data points that you can use moving forward a key thing to also keep in mind in terms of engagement and this is something for you As well leader who's listening to this is that each employee might need a different message from you to feel engaged and mobilised. So the key question that you need to answer for each member of your team, or to ask each member of your team is what motivates them or resonates with them for being rewarded for work well done. Okay. And this is a key thing that you should be able to also answer for yourself. Do you know what you want to return for a good job done? Okay. Do you want cash? Do you want awards? You want a private? Thank you email? Do you want to public thanks, right? Do you want to be on a billboard? What is it that you want? Take the time to really think about what are some of the things that you want exchanged, in exchange for a good job done, and also give your employees or your team or your service providers or your consultants, the opportunity to share that information with you as well, each employee in each of you listening to this right now might need to be recognised and acknowledged in a different way. And that's okay. Right? We each are individuals, we each are unique. So stop trying to treat everyone the same. And stop trying to treat everyone like you. Okay, and get comfortable sharing what you want in exchange for a job well done. We're human beings, right? We like things. And that's absolutely fine. Why is this important? Right? Why is it important for us to think about engagement, it's important because you can't build an empire or business on your own. So leveraging your self awareness to better engage with anyone, especially those who invest time and money into can help you get things done faster. And once again, you can also plan, right, so you can build steps. And this is what I do with my clients, right? We build plans, I have frameworks that they use to get more effective at engaging, let's get to the last step. So this last step I have for you the third step, they don't know what you want. And that's why setting expectations is so important. Okay, so the key question that you have to ask yourself and reflect on right, we're building your awareness, by listening to this podcast you are building your awareness is how do you communicate rules, tasks and expectations? And how often do you give feedback? So if you're within a more structured environment, or more structured company, there might be a process already to do this? Right. But are you aware of how to do it correctly? Are your employees aware of how to access this information? Right? Is it accurate? Have you updated it? And if you're working within more of a startup environment, have you taken the time to put things onto paper? Have you checked in with your employee to make sure they even know what they're supposed to be doing and what their targets are? So these are some things that you should really reflect on, let me give you some additional questions that you can ask right? You can ask yourself, you can also ask them. So when you're thinking about giving feedback or setting expectations, the first thing that you should really answer for yourself, in terms of this employee or this consultant is what do you expect? That seems like such a simple question, so many leaders don't take the time to actually think through this? What do you expect? What does success look like to you? Okay, what is this employee doing? Well, how is this employee not meeting expectations? What do you want them to do differently? And last, but not least, but most importantly, what support do they need from you? Yes, you leader in order to be successful. So here's the thing. And once again, I know this is easier said than done. This is something I work a lot on with my clients, you need to set clear expectations, give feedback often and over communicate. Why is setting clear expectations important with an understanding of how you come across, and how you plan to engage, you can develop and set appropriate expectations, and over time, and through practice. And by engaging right with members of your team, you can get better at this, you do this because you want to get things done, right? You want to improve your bottom line. All right. So that's what I have for you today. That is my three step process for increasing employee engagement, motivation, and ultimately, your bottom line. Okay, so that first thought, right, that first thought reversal, that first mindset shift, they aren't you and that's why building your self awareness is key. Number two, you don't know them. That's why you need to engage and create processes for you to be able to engage and re engage. And last but not least, they don't know what you want. And that's why it's so important for you to set expectations and over communicate them once again. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen, has any of what I've shared today been surprising? If so, please do let me know. I would love to hear what works for you or what doesn't stay safe and say thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share A special little gift with you thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane


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