Can emotions boost productivity and engagement?

Can managers have emotions?

All too often we are told that leaders need to manage their emotions, and that there is no room for sensitivity in business. However, the idea of sterile and emotionless workplaces is fast becoming outdated and uncommon.

Traditional leadership styles focused on achieving productivity targets and organisational goals through a team's dedication to work, rather than individual support and emotional intelligence. While this strategy seemed to be effective in the past, modern engagement studies have shown that employees are looking for more personal connections in the workplace.

The 2013 Gallup survey on workplace engagement found that only 13 per cent of employees across the globe report being invested at work. According to Gallup, engagement involves a focus on creating company value and, you guessed it, emotional investment in the business.

So, what is causing the 87 per cent of workers to feel disengaged?

Gallup has found that one of the leading influencers on employee engagement levels is the investment – or emotional attachment – of their superiors. In Australia and New Zealand, just 19 per cent of workers in leadership positions report feeling engaged in their jobs. 

Low engagement among leaders is troubling for local businesses, as Gallup reports they play the most significant role in influencing emotional attachment among their team members.

With emotions so closely tied to engagement, it's easy to see how sensitivity and positive feelings can impact on a manager's leadership style.

Nowadays, managers are being encouraged to embrace certain sensitivities, such as empathy, passion and excitement. Rather than simply relying on management skills and training, leaders must now connect with their team on a personal level in order to encourage engagement and productivity.

If you're currently managing a team within your company, have you considered you emotional influence? Perhaps now is the time to wear your emotions on your sleeve.


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