Photo Credit: IDoneThis.com
In the pre-dawn light of this Monday morning, my husband and I sat briefly together. Over our first cup of coffee, we were talking about employee engagement, of all things. I had just read the most excellent blog (by Corinne Rogero) on being engaged, and it inspired a rare early morning conversation. Be encouraged.
This beautiful young woman, Corinne, tantalizes the reader with a blog seemingly about engagement to be married:
“I want to be engaged, but it’s probably not what you think. I’m as single as a slice of American cheese right now, which is perfect for me and I prefer it that way. But when I say I want to be engaged, I don’t mean I’m looking for a fiancé. I mean I want to be engaged in the sense that I’m mindful of the people and surroundings and culture and the spiritual warfare around me. I want to establish meaningful connections with the person on the other side of my coffee mug or in the booth across from me at dinner or in the passenger seat of my car. I want to lean in and connect with the stories being told. I want to actively console the sorrows being shared. I don’t want to go through conversations absentmindedly anymore.” – Corinne Rogero, I Should Be Engaged
This state of mindfulness and staying in the present are crucial to being engaged…no matter the environment or work circumstance.
Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.
When we become discouraged or demoralized with work, our tendency is to lose our bearings, almost become disoriented. We move to being defensive (reactionary), rather than offensive (proactive or forward-thinking). We lose focus and the best problem-solvers, highest producers among us can seem to lose their way…shifting focus to lesser goals and more easily achievable ends.
What I loved most about Rogero’s blog on being engaged was the personal intentionality of it. Her chief desires were clear and she was resolved to clear the way for them…in her day-to-day present.
I loved that and am inspired, empowered, and energized by that. I want to communicate and model that in my own workspace.
Tom Muha wrote a great piece entitled Achieving Happiness: Leadership Styles: Multipliers vs. Diminishers. I didn’t see how it related to achieving happiness but it did give an excellent summation of Liz Wiseman’s book Multipliers: How the Best leaders Make Everybody Smarter. Read her book for sure; Muha’s article will whet your appetite to read it.
I refer you to the concept of “multipliers vs. diminishers” because employee engagement is incredibly impacted by what kind of supervisor we have. Some supervisors maximize their team’s work experience (multipliers) while others maximize their own perceived importance to the organization rather than empowering their employees (diminishers).
We may not easily see how we can alter our situation with our boss (other than losing ourselves trying to please him/her, disengaging, or quitting altogether), but I see possibilities. It is possible, we can make a difference with our boss…if we don’t give up. It is also possible to make a difference for peers to help each other stay engaged or to re-engage. I loved Corinne Rogero’s quote below:
You will not find the warrior, the poet, the philosopher or the Christian by staring into his eyes as if he were your mistress: better to fight beside him, read with him, argue with him, pray with him. – C. S. Lewis
It is hard sometimes…harder than we could imagine it would be sometimes…but whatever it takes to stay in the battle is better than disengaging ourselves from it.
Disengagement is very isolating. The disengaged just get quieter and focused elsewhere. Or, at its worst, disengagement gathers together a company of the miserable. No judging here…I just grieve the loss of what can be – not just product or service, but the continuing growth, joy, satisfaction of real, valued people at work.
Whatever our work situation or challenge, staying engaged is worth every effort, moment by moment. Hopefully your organization understands and is building in processes for ongoing employee engagement. Speak into that, if given opportunity. Speak into it anyway.
Photo Credit: ManagementStudyGuide.com
Hear one last word from Corinne Rogero on being engaged in life in the present:
“I want to be locked and loaded with an arsenal of grace and truth and boldness to bring the good news of hope into the lives that intersect mine. I want to be fully aware of God’s presence in every moment and not as much like Jacob who woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I didn’t know it!” – Corinne Rogero
No matter our situation at work – a team at odds with itself, a difficult culture, a boss who I don’t understand – no matter our situation, we can determine to be engaged. There is an undeniable emotional component to engagement, but it is larger than emotion. We can do the personal work of being “locked and loaded” – alone or with a few others who share our same vision and stewardship (belief/ethics). Our work lives are too precious to waste in disengagement… It may take some time for our circumstances to change, but our hearts, resolve, and focus can be sharpened in the fire of whatever difficulty faces us at work…if we don’t give up*.
What challenge are you facing at work that steals away your joy, drive, or confidence? What has helped you stay engaged? What are you doing to turn perceived walls, barriers or bottlenecks into doorways? Let us learn from you in comments below, please.
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everybody Smarter by Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown