Conventional thinking demands that we throw more perks, bonuses, and pay raises at employees to increase their work satisfaction or "boost their morale."

But carrot-and-stick methods of motivation don't work if employees are checked out from the neck up. Meaning, if they're not emotionally engaged on the job, the battle may have already been lost. 

To truly motivate, take a tip from this definition of employee engagement, from the employee's own voice:

It's the emotional commitment I have to my manager, my company, and our stated goals and vision that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning. It's the feeling that we're all safe in the direction we're headed. It's having a hope for the future, a track for growing professionally, and the assurance of a career path.

The reason this definition is so important is that, when your employees are emotionally committed, they give discretionary effort. Because it's intrinsic, it comes from the heart, and it's impossible to beat with any other strategy. People will go above and beyond, they will go the extra mile, and they will do things that exceed expectations.

The reality is this: Feelings and emotions drive human behavior. Consequently, how leaders make people feel in their jobs will have the greatest impact on their performance.

10 questions leaders need to ask.

To self-diagnose your leadership capacity to engage people at this level, ask yourself these 10 questions. Answering most with a yes would indicate your employees' commitment to their work, to you as their boss, and to your company. 

1. Do people believe that I want to hear their ideas and will value them?

2. Do my employees understand how their daily work helps accomplish the organization's goals?

3. Do others follow my requests and commands because they "want to," as opposed to because they "have to"?

4. Do others communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when I am around?

5. Do I frequently acknowledge and recognize each employee for his or her contribution -- in ways that matter most to each?

6. Do I regularly offer career path guidance to my people?

7. Do employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day?

8. At work, do people's opinions seem to count?

9. Do I regularly talk to my employees about their progress?

10. Do I help build confidence in my employees by communicating how their work matters?