Struggling with a small staff? Need to find a way to get the ones you have fully engaged? Here are three key steps to take:

Clarify Outcomes

Beyond shareholder value, bonuses and becoming “the best,” consider gaining clarity and communicating consistently these three elements:

  • How does your product/service contribute to your customers’ needs? And, how does your company/team deliver the product/service that adds great value to your customers’ lives?
  • Why do you personally care about the outcomes of your work?
  • Why does your team care about the outcomes of their work? What are they striving to achieve in their career?

Employees who are passionate, driven and highly engaged seek leaders (often subconsciously) with such clarity.


People in positions of authority often think they’re supposed to be the ones with all the answers. So, they bark orders under the guise of, “I pay you to do a job,” without realizing their team will most strongly support the ideas they help to create.

Consider sharing your challenges openly (to the extent possible) with your team and ask for their ideas/suggestions. As you listen and take notes, request help in achieving success. Focus on and reward the ones who step up, and watch as others begin following suit.

Build Trust

While autonomy requires accountability, the simple act of trusting your team to do their best work is empowering. As you build trust, find your balance between keeping a close eye, anticipating pitfalls and giving them the freedom to learn from their failures.

Communication is critical as specific outcomes are clarified and trust is built. Focus your time and attention on clarifying milestones, celebrating achievements and rewarding engagement.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

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