by Ethan Paquet
Eddie LeMoine is an expert on employee engagement, changing demographics, diversity, and performance development. He recently spoke about the ways to become an effective leader to help engage the workforce at the Atlantic Canada Aerospace & Defence Association (ACADA) Sea to Sky Conference in Charlottetown.
“To be an effective leader, there has to be clarity on what you are trying to achieve, and what individuals are able to do to help you achieve it.”
Eddie says there are three key components that make a person an effective leader. “The number one thing a leader needs to have, particularly right now, is empathy. They need to take a look at things from other people’s perspective.”
During the pandemic, empathy has also meant offering a certain amount of flexibility. “It is important to have flexibility with the way people work and how they interact with employees and with others. There needs to be some level of empowerment.”
Before the pandemic, office equipment was typically provided to workers at the employer’s expense. But now we have entered a state of work where employees are unexpectedly responsible for building their own home office, Eddie says.
“We have asked employees to work from home, but it is important to also empower them with the things they need to succeed. If working from home is going to go on for any length of time, we have to figure out how to give people the tools they need, and to feel comfortable and supported in their work.”
The third key to an effective leader is trust and truthfulness. “One of the things that drives lack of trust is lack of communication,” Eddie says. “We have to be very clear on what we’re doing, where we’re going, and what we know.”
He estimates that 90 percent of employees score low on engagement. “You have to communicate more with people during the pandemic than you did before. You have to get to know the people you work with.”
When getting to know your employees, Eddie says the main categories to focus on are gender, culture, and age.
“Prior to the pandemic, 54 percent of the workforce were women, and there were more women managers in Canada than men. All genders communicate differently. We have different values and communication styles, and there needs to be respect and great communication with each other.”
He says the younger generation is starting families later in life and having fewer children, so labour market growth will need to come from immigration. “We have become a super-diverse country, so we need to become comfortable in communicating across different cultures.”
Eddie stressed that while it may be challenging having multiple generations in the same workplace, we need to be asking how we can leverage the strengths each generation brings to the table.
“One way is to have the Baby Boomer generation mentor the younger generations and share the skills and knowledge they picked up over their long careers. And in reverse, the younger generation can assist the older generation with the constant technology shifts.”
The key to closing the engagement gap will come when you know the people in your organization, you motivate them to give an honest day’s work, and you inspire them to stay with your organization.
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