As leaders it is not infrequent that we discuss the importance of employee engagement in our workplace. In a recent leadership training meeting, I discussed this topic with several other leaders. Let me share a few of the thoughts we explored:First, engagement has a couple of relevant definitions:
- The act of engaging or the state of being engaged, and
- The condition of being in gear.
I kind of like the second one: “the condition of being in gear.” Thinking of my own engagement, I asked myself what is it that really puts me “in gear” in my work. Here were my thoughts:
- Knowing that my role and purpose in the organization is meaningful;
- Sharing a vision for a desired outcome or outcomes;
- Being needed and feeling appreciated;
- Fulfilling my responsibilities is doable, but challenging, and
- Having fun is part of the job!
What is it that gets you “in gear?" It is likely that many, if not all of the things that motivate you will also motivate those who work with and for you. In my case, I can see opportunity for me to be more clear in ensuring the work of my colleagues is meaningful; creating and communicating a vision that is clear and widely shared; noting the value of each member of our team and sharing appreciation for those valuable contributions of each member; providing challenging work opportunities with reasonable, obtainable expectations; and, finally, ensuring that we don’t take each other too seriously, even if our work is serious, and have some fun together while making a difference.
Timothy R. Clark stated, in his book The Engagement Mindset: “…highly engaged employees must take primary responsibility [for their own engagement]. They must take the lead.
“As an individual, [the manager/leader is] responsible for enabling behavior. If both elements come together, [individual accountability and manager’s enabling] the result is a highly engaged individual. It’s important to understand both factors and how they reinforce each other.”
So let’s all take the challenge to get “in gear” by taking primary responsibility for our own engagement and encouraging others to find their “gear” through enabling their engaged behavior. And, in the process, let’s have some fun making a difference.
Bob Cash, FACHE
COO, Intermountain Healthcare UCR