By Lauren Green, Workforce Manager

These days, employee engagement is one of the hottest topics in the industry. Professional Service Organizations (PSOs) and their clients are obsessed with measuring how employee engagement yields high performance and ultimately improves the bottom-line. Yet despite all the statistical analysis and quantifiable research out there on what it takes to achieve employee engagement, it still appears to be an ongoing battle. But I believe we all have a fighting chance and the solution is simple. Have good leaders that use their intelligence to inspire, motivate, and develop their people.

In Liz Wiseman’s book Multipliers, she discusses leaders who are “genius makers” that multiply the intelligence of those around them. These “Multipliers” utilize the intellectual capital within an organization to increase productivity, generate new ideas, and solve problems. How do they do this? “They are leaders who look beyond their own genius and focus their energy on extracting and extending the genius of others.” What is the result? Employees who “offer the very best of their thinking, creativity, and ideas. They give more than their jobs require and volunteer their discretionary effort and resourcefulness.”

Furthermore, Liz discusses “Diminishers,” leaders who, “deplete the organization of crucial intelligence and capability.” Through her research, she found that those managed by a Diminisher experience self-doubt, increased stress, which they carry home, and complain more. Based on this empirical research, it is clear that great leaders are the gatekeepers of success. They tend to remain humble and empower their employees to face challenges head-on. They also try to raise morale regularly with the help of personality assessment tools from the likes of Tilt 365, and educate employees on their individual strengths.

According to Tracom Group, “The most fundamental aspect of employee engagement is connection. Your people want to be connected. Connected to their colleagues. Connected to their bosses. Connected to their work and connected to their company’s purpose.” To create these connections, great leaders understand and act on their responsibility to oversee the involvement of their people in the organization’s and client’s strategies. Leadership expert Greg Zlevor states that “The most powerful and effective communication in an organization is a person’s direct supervisor to themselves.” Professional Service Organizations that wish to do more with fewer resources need leaders who can develop company ambassadors that believe they are capable of doing and becoming more.

With that, PSOs must ask themselves: Do we invest in leaders who build trust and respect? Do our leaders make people feel smart? Do our leaders create connections? To gain a competitive advantage, increased profit margins, a more fulfilled workforce, and deliver additional value to clients, developing our leaders must be a primary input to our strategy.