Getting to Engagement

One of the biggest problems in workplaces today is the lack of engagement.   So many people slog through their day and all they are thinking about is going home or “I can’t wait until Friday.”

What can we do about it?

One thing I think we can start doing is to get our team members to “think” their work rather than just “do” their work.  What I mean is, getting them to make decisions and really have some autonomy.  This is what gets people engaged; owning their work and the results is what gets people out of bed, not just “doing” the work.  Owning it and being allowed to make decisions is human, “doing” is mechanical.

So what can you do?

At first, start by sharing all of the things you consider when making a decision about something.  For example, “I would like you to do this.  Make sure you consider these details.”

Next, when you ask them to do the task again, don’t share anything, ask, “What things are you considering in making your decisions?”  If they are totally off base, step back and share your considerations again.  If they are right on, praise them for their insight and let them go make it happen.

Finally, when you ask them to do the task a third time, simply ask them what they intend to do and see if they are considering the decision-making criteria you have been teaching them.

If you want more engagement, extend trust and help team members get to the point where they can do things on their own.

2 thoughts on “Getting to Engagement

  1. Great post Neal.. it’s a real challenge to get people to be enthusiastic about the work and go the extra mile to achieve excellence. Maybe it’s partly a generational thing (or maybe that’s an excuse) but if front-line technicians are part-time freelancers with no long-term commitment to the company, the general attitude seams to be apathy and indifference. (am still an advocate for the return of the Swank model: salaried technicians who are well paid, well dressed and trained to derive job satisfaction from doing great work and delivering awesome service)

    • Thanks Ken. Regardless of full-time or part-time, most people want to have some control of their work rather than being treated as robots. Being clear about expectations, getting their input and praising success are all ways to illicit higher performance. However, there are those who do not respond and are satisfied to live a life of always wanting someone to tell them what to do. This is a shame but a reality. The key though is to at least give people the benefit of the doubt and give empowerment a try, if they respond, great, if not, it’s just a shame.

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