Leaders and executives are often looking to external stakeholders – such as customers, investors, and market forces – to boost their organization’s bottom line. However, leaders are missing out on one of the most valuable group of stakeholders they have – their employees.

Cultivating stakeholders within your organization is key to boosting engagement, efficiency, and collaboration in an era where these qualities are essential to organizational sustainability. Moreover, treating your workforce as investments, rather than just employees, builds employee loyalty and trust, helping you build a sustainable, reliable organization.

A leader’s ability to receive, consider, and incorporate employee feedback is foundational to building a team of stakeholders. However, many leaders lack this skill – either they never seek feedback, or they seek feedback and immediately disregard it. This ability, or lack thereof, results in the development of three types of organizations:

  1. Organizations in which leaders never ask employees for input. 
    The traditional organizational structure of top-down, hierarchical management does not promote leadership-employee collaboration. In these organizations, leaders are often perceived (and perceive themselves) as holding all the answers and solutions – thus they do not recognize the benefit of inter-organizational collaboration. Consequently, because employees do not feel valued, this type of organization often experiences low engagement, high-turnover, and short-term success.
  2. Organizations in which leaders ask for input, but never act on it.
    This may be worse than being a leader who never seeks input. In this type of organization, leaders will ask for employee input, only to let it collect dust in their feedback pile. Not only is this a waste of time but failing to act on your team’s feedback demonstrates that you do not respect their opinions and concerns, breeding distrust and resentment – two qualities that will quickly deteriorate a team’s productivity and efficiency.
  3. Organizations in which leaders actively seek, consider, and incorporate their team’s input on company issues – small and large.
    Organizations that consistently collaborate with employees at all levels, sincerely consider their feedback, and integrate it into their strategic plans and daily operations cultivate high-performing, productive teams. Including employees in organizational decision-making and strategic planning demonstrates you value their expertise, experience, and opinions, which in turn builds trust, boosts engagement, and builds loyalty.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to perpetuate a culture that treats employees as your most important stakeholders – because they are! Consistently reminding and reinforcing the importance of your employees’ work and how they are contributing to overarching organizational goals is key to their personal investment in the organization. Moreover, leaders must actively seek and sincerely consider their employees’ feedback. In doing so, leaders build trust among their teams, encourage a collaborative environment, and boost employee engagement and organizational profitability.

Are you taking the necessary steps to build a high-performing team? The Engineering Leadership Institute offers custom consulting packages and its revolutionary Performance Certification System (PCS) so you can build high-performing teams. The PCS is an online training system that develops the personal effectiveness skills driving powerful communication, collaboration, and engagement. With the Team Leader Guide, the PCS will develop your teams and build the foundation of common language and shared values necessary to create high-performing teams.