The Art Of Engagement

I wonder how many times you have wondered what those who work for you do in their free time.
What is amazing is the number and varied activities people are involved in outside work, secretaries, chairpersons, treasurers, committee members, volunteer organisers, stewards, governors, and then there are technical and creative skills people also volunteer in support of activities that bring them pleasure to be involved with. WOW
Oh then there is going to work! All too often their participation and commitment is limited to the managers’ or owners’ own limiting beliefs.
So what happens when we both project a greater expectation, and involve our people with the belief that they have far greater resources than we had previously imagined. They don’t report to work simply to collect a wage; they come full of anticipation, eager to succeed, up for the challenges each day brings and have purpose.
How we are as leaders, owners, and managers can be measured by the engagement of those that work in the organisation…note I said in not for!
Whatever business we are in, we are in the people business.
Through the years, many of us will have faced both the challenge of disengaged staff and witnessed great effort and resources being directed at improving productivity, through investment in new kit, implementation of lean principles, improvement in efficiency through work flow analysis with impressive results, often in high single digit percentages or even low double digit improvements. Yet the biggest sustainable change is when our people choose to release their discretionary effort!
Going back to activities outside of work, it has always struck me how self-sacrificing people are when it comes to supporting things that are important to them, when they get a buzz from making a difference or feel good about being involved. As leaders, we have the ability, should we choose, to create the conditions for engagement. In my opinion, it boils down to our own values and beliefs, how secure we are and how comfortable in letting go of control and how much we can allow ourselves to change for the benefit of others.