How To Build Team Engagement

November 21, 2022

As a manager, you will spend a lot of time working with your team members. More than likely, you’ll spent more time in casual settings as opposed to formal ones. That is totally okay!

Having close relationships with people on your team is important for success. You want to make sure that they trust you and look up to you, but also that they feel comfortable coming to you for help or advice.

Team engagement can be tricky at times though. While having those intimate conversations every now and then is needed, there are some ways to improve it between colleagues.

Here we will discuss some easy things you can do to foster teamwork within your department or organization. Below you will find tips about how to build team engagement in both staff and upper management.

General Tips For Building Team Engagement

These general tips apply to anyone looking to increase workplace intimacy and collaboration. Make sure you read all of them so you know what steps have worked for others!

1. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions require answers that go beyond just “yes” or “no.” These types of questions get participants into deeper discussion about their thoughts and feelings.

Examples of open-ended questions include: What made you become involved in this project? Why did you choose to participate in this meeting/task? What does leadership like about (X person)?


Be consistent

how to build team engagement

Consistency is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. If you show up at work every day with an open door, encouraging conversations, and understanding that your team members rely on you, then they will feel comfortable coming to you for help and guidance.

As a manager, you should never hesitate to talk about what matters to you. What are you passionate about? Are there ways you can bring more importance into people’s lives?

If someone does something well, tell them how much it mattered to you and ask if they wanted to know why. Most likely, they’ll give you their reasons and you’ll be able to coach them or motivate them directly.

Weekly meetings are a perfect way to keep engagement levels high in the workplace. Not only do they allow for discussion, but they also promote cohesion.

Teamwork isn’t always fun and easy, but when done right, it brings rewards that go beyond just getting the job finished.

Make plans and invite people along

how to build team engagement

As mentioned before, being involved in your colleagues’ lives is a powerful way to strengthen team engagement. But it takes more than just doing things with them for it to work.

You have to make an effort to do these activities, which is why it can be tricky to achieve team engagement when there are no clear signs of activity.

If you notice that someone has gone quiet or seems less engaged at work then try talking to them to see what might be going on for them at home. Is something happening at their house they need attention for? Or could they be struggling somewhere else in the workplace?

These could be anything from personal issues like relationship problems to job related stressors so try asking if anyone knows anything about this. It’s also worth checking in with them outside of work hours as some may only come into work with a schedule.

Be a good listener

how to build team engagement

A lot of people think that being a great leader is about giving orders, but it’s not! Being a great leader is really about being a good listener. You will find that most successful leaders are very thoughtful listeners – they pay attention to what other people have to say, and then add something valuable to the conversation.

As a leader, you should actively seek out opportunities to listen to your team members. Ask open-ended questions, and try to take time to understand how each person is performing their job.

By doing these things, you show that you are invested in the success of the organization, and this can go a long way towards ensuring employee engagement and loyalty.

It also creates a more productive work environment, as employees feel appreciated and valued.

Prioritize internal communication over external conversations

Too often, leadership becomes focused on building relationships with outside parties, developing strategic alliances, and promoting teamwork among different departments or functions.

This can be nice, but it sometimes takes away from important things like investing in and fostering strong working relationships within your own staff.

Chances are, if someone needs help or guidance, they won’t look to a random member of management, they’ll turn to someone who knows them well. This goes both ways; if someone does a good thing, they may reach out to make certain others aware of it.

Ask your team for feedback

how to build team engagement

Asking about things such as goals, what they are doing now, if there is anything they would like to change, etc., is a great way to gain insights into how you can improve teamwork.

By asking questions, you give people an opportunity to talk about things that matter to them. This helps create trust and understanding between individuals in the team, which is important when trying to achieve group objectives.

On top of this, it gives them the chance to show off their skills and knowledge – something everyone should appreciate!

It also allows them to connect with each other and build relationships which will help motivate them during times when no one has much motivation. A good team leader makes sure his or her colleagues feel accepted and appreciated.

And finally, it encourages collaboration by creating conversations and discussions. When someone feels heard and acknowledged, they’ll tend to work together more effectively than if they felt ignored or underappreciated.

Make it clear who is responsible for things

how to build team engagement

A good way to start building team engagement is by making it very clear what responsibilities each person has. This can be done through formal documents, informal conversations, and even via third-party software that makes this information accessible.

Formal documents include job descriptions, organizational charts, and general employee handbooks. These are great sources of information because they clearly state what jobs exist and who does them.

If you’re ever in a meeting where someone seems less engaged than others, find out what their role is and if they fulfilled it. If not, ask if there was something else they should have been doing instead.

Informal conversations go a lot further as well, so don’t worry about overdoing it here! Just keep asking questions, listen to how people respond, and use those answers to determine next steps.

Third party tools such as time tracking apps make it easy to see who is spending how much time on what. While not every company should use these, most do, which is why they're helpful data points.

Communicate well

how to build team engagement

As mentioned before, your team will not feel engaged if you do not connect with them. But how can you ensure that they feel connected to you as their leader?

Your first step should be to assess where things go wrong in relationships. Why don’t people seem to get along? What causes one person to lose respect for another?

What qualities are important when someone wants to be around you? Are these things clearly displayed or hidden?

It is easy to fall into bad patterns when working, but staying focused on what makes you successful and giving other people credit for this can help boost engagement.

Surround yourself with people who make you better and look out for those less fortunate than you. Don’t only associate with people of like mind, however. Be conscious about which friendships you keep and why.

Above all, be honest. Let people know when you aren’t feeling it and ask if they would do the same. If you have something planned that day, let everyone know.

If there’s no reason, maybe reevaluate whether this is the right job for you.

Do not micromanage

how to build team engagement

As mentioned before, leadership in any area comes down to creating an environment where your team members feel capable of success. Leaders do this by consistently demonstrating that they trust their colleagues’ abilities and by offering help when needed.

It is very common for people in positions of power to get involved more in the work than necessary. This can sometimes create a sense of entitlement or over-confidence in others.

When these individuals find themselves being replaced, it often creates a negative atmosphere. Others may even feel intimidated or undervalued because of this.

As a leader, stay out of the workplace as much as possible. Let other professionals handle their responsibilities and don’t worry about what you didn’t accomplish today.

Also, be aware of how you respond to comments and questions. If something makes you angry, take a break and then come back to address it.

Do not assume things will go well unless you are certain of it. Sometimes, as hard as this is, you just have to let some things play out without your input.

If someone does ask for your opinion, try to avoid giving yours right away – instead, listen and think about what they said. Then, form an appropriate response after some time.

Challenge your team when needed

how to build team engagement

Changing how you interact with people can strengthen teamwork and engagement, but it takes effort and time. When necessary, try asking questions that require deeper thinking or exploring ideas from different angles.

This is not an easy thing to do if you are used to putting out a familiar set of flames, but don’t shy away from it!

By being direct and thoughtful about what you ask, you will gain valuable insights into your colleagues’ lives.

This could be something as simple as inquiring about someone’s day or how they are doing their job, but there are also times to push people to explore new possibilities.

If you notice that some members of your team seem less engaged than others, ask them why. Is it because they lack support? Are they struggling under deadlines?

You might learn that they feel overwhelmed by the amount of work they have, or that no one seems to trust them. By addressing these issues head-on, you can help restore team unity.

On top of that, you will know whether they deserve more responsibility or whether someone should take over certain tasks for them.

How to Boost Employee Efficiency

There is significant value in having conversations like this, even if you never move beyond the initial question. At least you got a piece of information you can use later, even if nothing changes now.

Getting rid of gossip will boost efficiency.

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