Sharon Smith

By Sharon Smith

Protecting Your Organization – How to Have an Engaged Cybersecurity Team 

150 150 Sharon Smith

In the first article of this series I provided an overview of the 5 pillars for creating an EPICC high performance teams. In this article we discuss the first pillar of the EPICC model – engagement.

Gallup continues to report that in the US, employee engagement is  around 30% and worldwide at only 15%. While we know this costs real money and affects the bottom line, it has an even bigger cost when we are talking about cybersecurity. When it comes to your cybersecurity team, 15-30% engagement can actually be dangerous to your organization. This is the team that has to be on their toes 24/7 to keep your network and data secure and you want — no, you need — them engaged.

Engaged employees are motivated and excited to do the work they are assigned to do and don’t have to be convinced to do a good job. They truly want to be at work, and want to do their best to contribute. They are looking for continual ways to improve and innovate and they go above and beyond, take initiative, interact with coworkers and management, produce high quality work products, and take responsibility.

Because that is what you are looking for in your cybersecurity team, let’s get to what it takes to have engaged employees. It takes a leadership team that knows how to create engagement by tapping into the key motivators that people have. As a leader, you can inspire your team to want to do more and be better, but you can only motivate them for the long run if you can tap into their intrinsic motivators. For more information on the following motivators, use the links to take you to a more in-depth article on each one.

Contributing fully through alignment – When you want people to contribute fully they need to align with the work they do in a way that allows them to contribute who they are to a task. When people are not aligned they get bored and find other things to do instead of the work at hand. If you ever feel that people on your team are slackers it could be a sign that they are not aligned with their work and as a result, not fully contributing. That is not a sign of a bad employee; it is a sign that they are doing work that is not aligned with who they are.

The Big Picture – People want to know how they fit into the big picture. How does their work help the organizations goals? Punching a clock or showing up to do a job with no meaning is not going to cut it anymore. Your most loyal, dedicated, and hard working employees will be the ones that understand and believe in the purpose of their role in the organization. As a leader and coach of your team it is your responsibility to ensure your team knows, understands, and is bought into the big picture. It is your job to keep that big picture and shared goals in front of them as part of the on-going conversation.

Continued Growth – As a leader, it is your role to ensure your team is getting continued growth opportunities. They want to learn and grow and they will be more appreciative and harder working when given these opportunities. My experience as an employee in several organizations where there were no growth opportunities lead me to be less motivated and look elsewhere for what I was missing. Plus, when you provide educational opportunities, you are going to have a smarter, more talented workforce, and when has that ever been a bad thing?

Feedback and Recognition – Here is a place where your team needs you more than anywhere else. Do you know that most people go through their days getting no praise, feedback, or recognition, not even at home or from those they love? When people are told they are doing a good job, they will want to do an even better job next time. When they don’t know how they are doing they often make assumptions and think to themselves, “oh well, no need to try harder, no one seems to notice around here.” However, don’t just provide recognition and positive feedback because you are supposed to. Do it from a place of sincerity, like a proud parent would when their child is walking across the stage at graduation or scoring the winning goal of the soccer game. Without proper feedback and recognition you are missing out on one of the greatest motivators of all.

One of your jobs as a leader is to inspire those around you so that they are motivated to contribute fully, which will result in improved engagement and in the case of your cybersecurity team improved protection of your organization’s network and sensitive data. See how you can use these tips to amplify their motivation and help create better results for everyone on your cybersecurity team, and in return, for your organization..

If you have questions or comments email me at and for more resources visit and/or listen to C-Suite Success Radio






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