Improving Employee Engagement part 1

Here is an extract from a recent employee engagement survey conducted by Changeboard in partnership with Oracle. The results are real food for thought, leading us to the question, what can we do about it? Each week we will look at the major blockers to employee engagement, with solutions that will lead to great improvements when implemented.

The majority (60%) of organisations are not happy with the current levels of employee engagement. There are many different reasons for low employee engagement. The most common is due to leadership behaviours, put forward by 45% of people. “The organisation currently has no competency framework or values in place, so leadership behaviours have a big negative effect on engagement,” asserted one individual. But the line manager/employee relationship is also prominent (42%), as is a lack of career development opportunities (39%), poor performance management (38%) and a perceived lack of voice (27%). Other anecdotal responses also referenced issues such as conflict between senior management and employees, a lack of work/life balance and the impact of substantial funding cuts, reorganisations and job losses.

Isn’t it shocking that 45% of workers participating responded that their low engagement was as a direct result of Leadership behaviours. There are so many organisations that first fail to identify the behaviours they want their leaders to demonstrate consistently and secondly, fail to build effective skills and behaviour frameworks that underpin quality leadership in their business.
What we can do is to assist businesses both identify and work in partnership with leaders to put together the framework, whilst building their understanding of What we are doing, Why we are doing it , How it will be a benefit for them and their employees.
We can support leaders through coaching to help explore their own leadership behaviour challenges, identify where and why some situations are more challenging than others and to increase their own self-awareness.

Reveal Solutions are Leadership and Management Development specialists, designing and delivering bespoke learning interventions that improve employee performance, wellbeing and engagement.

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Beliefs Underpin Behaviours

Behaviours are visible, the actions we take in support of the things that we believe.
Beliefs have a powerful and direct influence in all that we do, let me give you an example. If you believed that it is solely the council’s responsibility to keep the public park clean and tidy and free from litter, cigarette butts, other rubbish etc. and with the litter bins emptied regularly; you might not be too worried about discarding your half-eaten kebab and polystyrene tray on the ground on your way home from a night out if the bin you just passed was full up! If, however, you believed that we all have a moral duty to look after our environment and that by doing our bit, we maintain and promote public spaces as nice places to go, always clean and tidy and a safe place to take our children; we are more than likely to keep hold of the rest of our unwanted kebab, take it home and place it in our own bin. We might even be compelled to pick up someone else’s dropped litter whilst walking in the park!
A belief is something that we know to be true! The distinction here is we know it to be true at that moment because nothing has yet come along to prove otherwise. An example would be, as children we may have a belief in Father Christmas, we know that to be true, we have evidence, mince pies and a drink are gone on Christmas morning and presents are left as we have been told they would be. Then one day another child from school breaks the news that no, he doesn’t exist, it’s been your parents all along. New information and belief change occurs; we have updated what we know to be true.
If you want to alter another person’s behaviour, then you first have to find out what it is that they believe that underpins the behaviours being demonstrated and then seek to change the belief, the result is that a new and different behaviour is generated.
So is this the reason why most attempts by one person to alter the behaviour of another fail, because they tackle the undesired behaviour, by pointing out it’s wrong, or telling the other person why they shouldn’t be doing it, or maybe what the consequences of the behaviour are to others. The interesting point here is, this only works if the other person goes away after you point out the behaviour is unacceptable to you, thinks about what you have said and decides to agree with you. All that assumes they are prepared to reflect, understand the relationship between beliefs and behaviours, realise that what they had believed was in fact incorrect, and change their belief.
A much more successful way is to find out what it is the person believes to be true in the context and to provide new and compelling evidence to the contrary. The rest, as they say, is history!

Potentially Misunderstanding the Power of Courtesy

This morning, being a leisurely Sunday morning, a BBC News online article caught my attention; ‘A Point of View: The Underrated Power of Courtesy’.   I appreciated the author’s intelligent questioning and reflexive approach to her exploration of how courtesy and discourtesy show up in our society, how we respond to them, choose to accept them or even not notice them when all around us.  The piece certainly got me thinking and reflecting.

As you may know from previous posts, the emergent and developing field of mBraining draws from cutting edge neuroscience and also ancient wisdom traditions to demonstrate how we have multiple brains (scientists define a brain as a complex adaptive neural structure), each with their own specialist competencies.  Broadly, our Heart serves us best in expressing emotions, experiencing our values and how we relate and connect to others.  Our Head’s prime functions are cognitive perception, thinking and making meaning.  Our Gut brain (the earliest to form in embryological terms) exists primarily to mobilise us to action, to decide what is part of me (that is both metaphorically and literally) at core identity level and to keep us safe.

In mBraining, we differentiate between when one of our intelligences is doing its own prime function effectively or not and also when any of them is attempting to do another’s ‘job’, which is inappropriate and can lead to a lack of congruence, alignment, or effectiveness.  Just imagine a brain surgeon trying to substitute for an orchestral conductor; she is clearly extremely intelligent and capable, but is competent in a totally different field, for a different purpose.  So, whilst reading this article, I started ruminating upon which brain courtesy comes from and if we may misunderstand its power by seeking it in another place.

I love language and often go back to a dictionary to catalyse such explorations and so, was delighted to find that the dictionary definition for courtesy is two-fold; 1) polite behaviour and 2) a willingness and generosity in providing something neededBehaviour is a form of action, mobilisation and is therefore derived from the gut brain and both the emphasis that it is polite behaviour and the second clause of the definition focus on the contribution from the heart brain.  Politeness is defined by our values – what is deemed to be important, right and wrong – and values live in our heart.  Notice next time someone you’re listening to refers to something dear to them…where does their hand go?…most often and naturally to their chest / heart area.  Then, the willingness and generosity are also driven by our heart’s intelligence and leadership development has identified the multitude of benefits of developing our Emotional Intelligence in recent years.  mBraining acknowledges the role of the electromagnetic field generated by the heart in building and maintaining rapport, called entrainment, which scientifically explains why we feel drawn to certain people (or otherwise) because we just have a feeling.

Reading the article, I noticed that whilst I agreed logically with almost all of the content, something wasn’t sitting well for me and I have learned that’s often a sign for me to reflect further and to check in with my different intelligences to learn more and for wiser decision making.  Then it occurred to me that society seems to use courtesy as a theoretical concept, a principle … a function of the logical, rational head brain.  In other words, we may be trying to get our inner brain surgeon to conduct an emotive and moving symphony – it doesn’t compute, because acting courteously is how we do what we do according to what we value and feel.  In the article, the writer talks about losing a dear friend who she remembers as the epitome of courteous; “when (Gill) met you, he assumed you were worth defending and respecting and cheering on. He took that risk.”  Heart and gut – acting courageously upon what is truly held to be important.  The (grammatically-incorrect) verb of courtesy-ing, therefore, arises from the highest expressions of our heart (Compassion) and gut (Courage) resonating in unison and yes, our head is of course needed to provide the Creativity and finesse of which words or vehicle to best use in each situation, but we misunderstand the power of courtesy if we do not bring it from our heart and gut.

So, I am feeling a call to action this morning, to seek out opportunities to act (gut) upon compassion (heart) in order to be more courteous.  Courtesy may not yet be as fashionable as it once was, but perhaps we deeply feel it is time to bring about a heartfelt resurgence!

If you are intrigued by how mBraining can offer wiser decision-making in your leadership and life, how you will benefit from the congruence of all your intelligences working in alignment and what more influence you can build; please email or pick up the phone 07790885086 to find out more about our mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) Coach Certification and other training programmes, our products or coaching.  We look forward to having a conversation with you.

2 weeks in a 50 to go

What will the year ahead hold for you?

With all the customary New Years Resolutions made and many neither started or with enthusiasm waning already I thought it might be a good idea, not only pose the above question, but also to reiterate the key steps to achieving successful outcomes. That is assuming that we know what we want in the first place!

I want to start by asking you this. What do you want for this year? Do you know? Or are you with many others who can articulate what it is they don’t want but struggle to say what they want instead!

Having an outcome is important it gives us purpose and direction. So here is your first challenge, write down what you want and make sure it is stated in a positive manner. Let me give you an example. To say I am fed up with being unfit is not going to be very motivating for you, to say I want to learn to play Badminton and play once a week is both a positive outcome and secondly it is specific enough to quantify. Badminton is the method of getting fit and playing once a week is the frequency that you want to achieve.

Make sure that when deciding what it is you want it fits into this acronym SMART.
Specific – Your outcome should be specific, “I want to become a better manager” is not specific, however “ I want to be better at managing my time so that I am planning my days not just reacting to events” is
Measurable – How will you know when you have achieved your outcome? Decide now how you will measure your success, by doing this you will also be able to notice your improvement. Top Tip. Review your progress and CELEBRATE your successes on the way, why wait to the end to feel good? Feel good, energised, fulfilled and motivated along the way.
Achievable – we want you to succeed, so checking that the objective you have set is attainable is important, it is at this point consideration should be given to what support you may need, so in the playing Badminton example getting a book on the rules, buying or hiring equipment , being taught, etc. A good question to ask yourself is who else has done this already?
Realistic – Is the outcome realistic for you? It may be that it is and there are measurable building blocks that will support you achieving the outcome. An example of this can be seen in the achievement of successfully selling your businesses products into the market place and being able to cope with the demand, meeting delivery targets and deadlines of your customers. In order to do this there are various other objectives that need to achieved, manufacturing, purchasing, storage and distribution, marketing, pricing, customer care and relationship etc.

Timely- Having a timescale to achievement is important it firstly tests our level of commitment and enthusiasm, furthermore it ensures action and achievement.

Stick to these fundamental principles and you are sure to achieve what you want in your business life and personal life to.

Raising Awareness Though 360 Feedback

Many more businesses are providing managers with the opportunity to experience 360 feedback. This is a good thing as our perceptions of our own behaviours, skills and knowledge in the work place may be both different and informed from a limited number of sources.

It’s important that participants receive a facilitated feedback session and not just given a printed report to digest the information. The feedback session should facilitated in a coaching style, be one of an exploration, where the coach through asking questions of the participant increases their awareness of how they perceive themselves and to how others perceive them.
The exploration of when and where particular competencies are being demonstrated, well or not so well, provides the participant with context, is useful in recognising what works so it can be repeated more often and in developing actions for improvement in the future.

Many organisations have also benefited from including personality trait psychometrics into their management & leadership development programmes and the feedback sessions conducted by experienced and qualified coaches can provide quality information for the participant to work with in their personal development plan.