Susan Stamm’s new book, 42 Rules of Employee Engagement has some good suggestions for creating engagement with new and existing teams.  As project managers, it’s important to make sure that people feel connected to the project and each other in order to foster good working relationships.  I particularly liked the advice on being a low-tech communicator and not relying on email.  There is also some good advice on fostering good working values – regardless of what the corporate statement on values is, some things are applicable to all workplaces, and Stamm covers off the key things that every manager should be demonstrating: sincerity, reliability, enthusiasm, and honesty.  Stamm writes:

The new challenge is simple: ‘how do I get people to do what I need them to do, when I have no power over them?’  Management struggles with how to adapt to the new realities of fully utilizing and energizing the human side of their enterprise.  The key is no longer merely satisfying or attempting to keep employees pacified or without angst.  It is tapping into the core values and beliefs inherent in every individual.  Creating a passion, rather than just providing tasks, is the key.

Stamm is president of The Team Approach, which is “a team development firm dedicated to helping people play nicer at work.”  It all sounds rather fluffy, but creating engagement often does, as quantifying the results is so difficult.  However, there are some basic strategies in this book that are very easy to put into place, like supporting team members when they need it and building self-esteem.  If your team is struggling, or workplace morale is low, or you just can’t work out what you need to do to get the best out of people, then this is a reasonable place to start.

The book isn’t just written for teams that are too unengaged.  Rule 14 is ‘You’re Still the Boss.’  If your project team is run in a highly collaborative way and that is becoming out of hand as you can’t get decisions implemented due to endless discussions, you might want to start with that one!

It appears to have been written mainly as a book that could accompany one of Stamm’s company’s courses.  Although you can read it by itself it’s very short, with less than 90 pages outside of the appendices.  I personally don’t like books printed in sans-serif fonts as I think it makes them hard to read.  I also didn’t like the fact that some of the endnotes have footnotes.  This is hugely unnecessary, and the references to Wikipedia could do with being removed as well.