You may well be fully engaged, but if you are a leader and expecting something (like engagement!) from others it is critical that you take a look in the mirror and honestly assess whether you are truly creating the environment for engagement to flourish.
As a leader you must ask yourself: “am I effectively engaging my team?”
Here are 3 things to look for that might indicate the answer is no, and what you can do about it:
1. The level of engagement of the people who are accountable to you is unsatisfying.
Yes, this may be an obvious indicator, but are you considering what YOU can change to cause a change in them or are you focused on how you can get them to change? It’s also essential to get really clear about what engagement means to you so you can know what you actually need to go to work on, as well as set expectations accordingly. Engagement is one of those terms we throw around like everyone knows what it is. Often it isn’t until we think about what it means to us that we realize just how fuzzy our own definition might be. I’ll know it when I see it or feel it is not good enough if you want to get to work on increasing engagement.
2. You are frustrated by a consistent lack of ownership.
Maybe it’s not everyone, but if you have someone in a position that is not consistently stepping up to the plate and taking ownership of the results and/or the deliverables you are counting on from them, then consider you are not engaging them in a way that is working. The first thing you need to do though is get clear about what you would specifically need to see to no longer be frustrated. Lead with the end in mind and you increase the odds that you will invent a pathway to success.
3. Others around you are complaining that “our” people are not engaged enough.
it could be your boss, a peer, the CEO, or just a general complaint that seems to have taken hold as a truth in your culture. When you hear this kind of complaint there are two things you need to get clear about immediately: what is meant by “not engaged enough” and who specifically is not engaged. Questions like “how would you know people were engaged?” or “What do you see happening or not happening that tells you people aren’t engaged enough?” can be helpful.
Generalities won’t help anyone. You can provide leadership to others by supporting them in getting clear. Then you can figure out what to do. Beware of the urge to run with trying to “fix” the complaint before you get clear though (a common mistake for many when it’s the boss that is complaining!).
These are just some examples that I have seen lumped into the into an often far too nebulous category called “employee engagement”.
Identifying that you have an “employee engagement” problem doesn’t help you improve your work environment any more than identifying that you have a “communication” problem. The first step to a practical and actionable solution is to identify the specific problem you have. Then to solve that problem, make sure first get clear about what success would look like.
This is one strategy for practically tackling the problem named “insufficient employee engagement”. There are, of course, some specific things you can do as a leader to ensure you are not only engaged personally, but effectively engaging others consistently. To learn more about that read Leading for Employee Engagement.
I’d like to hear from you. What are the specific signs and symptoms of “insufficient employee engagement”? And what are your approaches and solutions?
Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_20163042_concept-vector-graphic-social-media-communication–people-icons-this-illustration-can-also-represent.html’>mnsanthoshkumar / 123RF Stock Photo</a>