The impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the workplace has been far-reaching with many employers discovering that while there were certainly benefits to working at home, there were also a number of setbacks.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by digital marketing agency BlueGhost Czech polled team members across a number of sectors who said that working from home presented challenges: no overview of who is working on what, long energy-sapping virtual meetings, and an overall lack of productivity.
Nothing can hinder engagement like uncertainty and nothing can lead to low productivity and heavy losses like a lack of engagement says mentor and coach Rainer Bach, the founder of MyFeedBach, a company that specializes in helping frontline managers increase team motivation and engagement.
Bach says that a strong focus on the motivational aspect of leadership and a people-centered approach is now more important than ever.
“The basic needs of employees — autonomy, competence, and connectedness — have not changed because they work from home, but the circumstances under which to satisfy them have,” he says.
Bach’s newly launched five-step mentoring program D.R.I.V.E. is a unique blend of coaching and training that combines his research and extensive experiences in leadership roles, particularly in the IT sector. It aims to help frontline managers who are experiencing low engagement in their teams.
Bach, who held a leadership position at Deutsche Telekom for more than two decades, started his freelance consulting career in 2014. During this time he helped a number of large clients in Prague lead digital transformation programs.
It was then that he realized how those in the project management roles were struggling to get things done in cross-functional teams.
“They were feeling overloaded with functional and administrative tasks,” he recalls. “Project Managers typically didn’t have time to care for the needs of the experts doing the actual work, and that had an immediate impact on those people’s engagement.”
Bach discovered that a lack of care and the resulting frustration of employees’ needs also led to disengagement.
“The line managers I observed didn’t intend to give their direct reports a hard time. Being under pressure themselves, they were often failing to care for and motivate their people,” he says.
One common problem he witnessed, particularly in the IT sector, was that those in charge often viewed themselves as subject matter experts above all.
“Getting deeply technically involved, their analytical brain was operating at full capacity while their social brain, shut down. This makes sense because science shows us they are mutually exclusive,” says Bach whose science-based D.R.I.V.E. program incorporates his studies into the psychology of employee engagement.
Bach, who has led popular seminars and workshops at co-working hubs around Prague also stresses the importance of helping those in leadership roles to understand their employees’ basic psychological needs and how to cater to them and in turn unlock their employees’ hidden capacities and talents.
“Unawareness of what truly makes people go above and beyond and trying to approach motivation in a costly hit-or-miss kind of way often results in employee dissatisfaction,” he says.
For knowledge workers of the digital age, Bach says opportunities for meaningful and challenging work, task ownership, and personal growth drive motivation not bonuses, incentives, gifts, or awards.
Motivationally savvy team leaders understand what people are intrinsically driven by and support them in getting there
Bach recalls seeing people feeling bad despite having received a bonus because they were the only ones considered, even though the success was a team effort. On the contrary, he vividly remembers “people around me having been on cloud 9 for days simply because they made progress on their work which they truly felt attached to.”
He believes that motivationally savvy team leaders understand what people are intrinsically driven by and support them in getting there. Less skilled leaders run the risk of thwarting people’s needs and drive employees into disengagement.
“There is the old saying that people leave managers and not companies. It rightly suggests that the direct manager takes the lion share when it comes to influencing the well-being and, therefore, the engagement of the individual,” says Bach, whose program encourages managers to value their peoples’ daily needs, while interacting with empathy.
“When people give reasons for their frustration or for leaving a job, it almost always starts with… “My manager” and continues … “doesn’t support my growth, doesn’t give me meaningful work, ignores my ideas for change, or micromanages me,” Bach adds.
He is convinced that when you listen and act upon your employees’ needs, you engage their competencies fully — helping them develop into proactive problem solvers who ensure the smooth flow of business operations and ultimately contribute creatively to your firm’s innovation and success,
In the end, Bach believes that team leaders whose teams lag far behind in their targets due to low employee satisfaction will benefit greatly from his new program, which ratchets up leaders’ motivational skills while ensuring learning retention and goal attainment with follow up coaching.
“When you effectively turn your employees into guardians of your high-quality business operations and give them a great sense of well-being at the same time you will see incredibly positive results,” he says.
Do you want to learn more about D.R.I.V.E.? Visit MyFeedBach.eu