Thursday, 9 May 2013

Employee engagement the Ferguson Way

The news has been full of plaudits for Sir Alex Ferguson since he announced his retirement yesterday.
The man who created unprecedented footballing success at Manchester United and built a global brand has long had a reputation for inspiring fear and terror among his team. The sight of an angry David Beckham with stitches in his eyebrow after a run in with Sir Alex and a football boot did nothing to dispel such rumours.
On the face of it it, his approach goes against all employee engagement theory. How can such a reign of terror have created such success? Well, this article in The Daily Telegraph sheds some light on the mystery.
It turns out that Sir Alex is actually a master of employee engagement. He highlights the need to praise the people who work for him, give his players confidence and to explain his decisions so that the team can remain focussed on working hard.
But the most important point he makes is that to achieve employee engagement managers need to provide absolute clarity. Too often people misunderstand employee engagement, thinking it's about being soft. They also confuse it with a choice between being soft or scary but actually being clear with people is far more important. If you are clear - your people understand the organisation's motives and direction and they believe in the shared goals - they will feel engaged and valued. When you have truly engaged them, they will do whatever it takes to achieve the shared vision.

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