How the ‘fake it until you make it’ approach works for employee engagement

There are a lot of commonly held beliefs about what leaders should be. In the minds of many people, the ideal business owners and managers are smart, innovative, well-spoken, compassionate, driven and level-headed. They work together with their employees and motivate and empower them to achieve great things with their work.

For inexperienced leaders, it can be difficult to live up to all these expectations. Fortunately, you don't have to be a business maven to run a successful company and empower your employees. In fact, a new study suggests that many business managers can “fake it until they make it” with regard to leadership skills.

The research, conducted by the Science Daily website, highlights the difficulty of engaging and empowering employees. In today's stressful business world, employers often have a number of things on their minds, and it can be difficult for them to teach themselves to genuinely care for their employees. While developing these personal skills should be on any leader's path to continuous improvement, simply putting forth effort to appear concerned was found to be just as valuable.

“We have known for some time that the emotional climate in the workplace is a key factor in employee wellbeing and performance,” explains Chiara Amati, a psychologist from Edinburgh Napier University and a researcher for the study. “We have also known about the need for managers to be emotional intelligent to be successful. What we have established here is just how important it is that managers 'perform' or put on a public emotional show, even if they don't feel like it.”

The importance of employee engagement

Employees need to be engaged in the workplace to ensure they are working at peak levels. While there are a variety of approaches businesses can take to empowering workers, one of the most commonly used involves giving employees more control of their jobs so they feel they have an influence over their work.

Managers should take an active role in the work of their employees. For example, speak with them to understand where they are struggling or ask them if they have feedback to improve operations. This shows employees that business leaders care about them and view them as valuable parts of their companies.