Creating Highly Engaged Teams

By Greg Wingard

When the job market heats up, many employees will hit the streets predicts USA Today, with star performers the most likely to make a move. So, who will gain from this? Experts say the beneficiaries will be managers who create engaged teams based on factors other than financial carrots.

A Gallup study of 3 million employees and 200,000 managers found that employees don’t quit companies, they quit managers – with the opposite also holding true: employees stay with great managers.

As managers, what can be done to get good people to stay?

1. Take a unique interest in each team member. Napoleon had a keen interest in individuals. He also had an amazing memory. It’s said that he walked among his men and occasionally asked how a particular family member was faring. His troops were amazed at how much personal information he remembered, which helped explain their deep loyalty toward him. The message is that people want to know that managers care about them as people, not just as producers.

Resource recommendation: Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em – Getting Good People to Stay, Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans.

2. Play to strengths. For team members, success and personal fulfillment come from doing what they do best every day. One of the vital roles managers play is helping team members discover and develop their own unique talents.

Resource recommendation: Discover Your Sales Strengths: How the World’s Greatest Salespeople Develop Winning Careers (Warner Books, Inc., 2003), Benson Smith and Tony Rutigliano.

3. Keep growing personally. Personal growth must be ongoing. The most dynamic leaders are always investing in their own growth. New authors, new speakers, new friends, new intellectual disciplines, and cross-industry pollination keep managers fresh, growing, and inspired.

Resource recommendation: Look for books from Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey or other motivational authors whose books you haven’t read or attend one of their seminars.

4. Be a model of optimism. Few things energize a team more than an optimistic, explanatory style. Team members look to the leader to explain what events mean when they occur. What does this lost account mean? How will we handle this new opportunity? Leaders set the tone with their explanations. When they model optimism, they create team confidence.

Resource recommendation: Learned Optimism : How to Change Your Mind and Your Life (Free Press, 1998), Dr. Martin Seligman.

5. Help team members grow. Job security today does not reside in the company – it resides in the employee. Managers who make their salespeople better are making them more employable. Risky? Sure. But it is riskier not to make the investment. Managers who invest in their people’s development become valuable allies.

Resource recommendation: Salesperson solutions from Simple Team Solutions,

For more information contact Greg Wingard, CEO, Simple Team Solutions, at