Our friend and CEO Peter Aceto knows first hand about engagement. AT ING Direct Canada, Peter has helped guide the company to many awards, including Best Employer in Canada and one of Canada’s 19 best companies to work for. Such awards cannot be accomplished without the engagement of committed employees. Read on to learn a crucial element for such outcomes.

Think about personal relationships between family and friends. How do you think they grow & flourish? I hope you said trust! Because that is precisely where engagement begins. Relationships strengthen when we learn to trust each other.

The same applies in business. A leader’s success strongly depends on his or her ability to earn and maintain the trust of employees.

 

It’s time to shift from a distant leadership to a more personal and engaged leadership

 

So how do you build trust? You invest time in your team. You show who you really are. You get out of your office!

I spend, what some may consider, an inordinate amount of time personally connecting with team members. I believe in the concept of ROR (Return On Relationships). Enabling dialogue, being open and real are what I’ve learned make the most difference in engagement.

The benefits of this concept are evident in social media and through our internal communications channels, but what I want to stress here is the value of old-fashioned in-person interactions. You know, when you step out from behind your desk, you go see for yourself, and interact with the people who work with you.

 

I believe in the concept of ROR (Return On Relationships)

 

Business strategy is one thing. But at the end of the day it is people who drive business forward – human beings who each have their own personal “why” for how they give their effort and energy on a daily basis. And they want to be acknowledged, heard, and valued. It’s important for leaders to do that, and to genuinely care. It is that inclusiveness that forms trust and generates immeasurable commitment towards the collective “why” of a business.

Leaders, CEOs, Presidents, we are not typically known to share lunches in the office cafeteria, sit in with call centre associates, or play weekly hockey games with the team. The general expectation is that we are far removed in our corner offices and not easily accessible – It’s time to shift from a distant leadership to a more personal and engaged leadership.

 

I urge leaders – leave your desks and get to know your teams. And if you have a chance to show your personality, do it

 

I can tell you from personal experience that the more genuine interest that leaders show their teams, the stronger the culture becomes. The impact is powerful and difficult to quantify.

When you let your guard down, understand what makes individuals tick, ask about their families, truly care about their wellbeing – that is what makes leaders relatable, leaves great impressions and builds great team environments. The kind of environments that foster trust and personal connections and allow for discussion, debate and even arguments at times. And the environments where leaders and their teams feel comfortable to show emotion, and reveal who they truly are.

I had a mentor who once said to me “you can’t be a leader if you’re not fallible. You need to be authentic. No one will follow you if you’re too perfect.”

 

What I want to stress here is the value of old-fashioned in-person interactions

 

Connecting with people at all levels of the business in person, is fundamental. There’s plenty of strength in being real. It’s a powerful tool. And it starts at the top. I urge leaders – leave your desks and get to know your teams. And if you have a chance to show your personality, do it.

Engagement is an automatic result. Once the momentum is at your back it is unstoppable!

Connect with Peter

Peter Aceto is the President and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada. Peter publishes a bi-monthly blog called Direct Talk with Peter Aceto blog.ingdirect.ca. He writes about Leadership, Management, Corporate Culture, Innovation and Customer Service. Follow Peter on Twitter @CEO_INGDIRECT

 

Photo  courtesy of Bassseloped