As a kid I used to LOVE watching Kung-Fu movies. You know, the ones with the cartoony stunt work, hilariously bad translations and horrible voice-overs? Somehow in these movies the video track always failed to match the audio.
Makes me wonder…is that how we sound to our employees when we make proclamations and then act in ways that run counter to what we just said? What message are we sending to our people?
That’s why I propose that the first rule of (employee) engagement should be this: above all else, be clear. And the best way to be clear is to make sure your video matches your audio. In other words, make sure that what you say is backed up 100% by what you do, at work.
Call it leading by example or modeling the way.
Here are 4 steps you can take to make that happen.
I’ll be honest, I seriously dislike hearing managers or executives talk about people in terms of “human resources” or “human capital”.
I don’t think they understand that hitherto, in the course of human endeavors, “resources” and “capital” have been things that tend to be “used up” or “depleted”. And that’s a horrible way to think about the people in an organization—like machines that you operate, break, repair (and repeat) until they arrive at the final cycle of their operational life. Is it any wonder that for more than a century many managers were focused on what they could get out of people instead of what they could put in?
Some are still playing that game today, how else can we explain Gallup’s figure of 70% non-engagement at work?
That simply won’t do.
Today, your job is to develop your “human talent” so that you can grow together.
And how will we measure your success on this front?
A few years back Chris Brogan taught me a fabulous new word: “Sawubona”. It’s the Zulu way of saying “Hi!” and its literal translation is, “I see you”. Now tell me, is there a more beautiful way of communicating one of the central yearnings of every human being on this planet—to be acknowledged, to be appreciated, to be taken into consideration?
To be seen?
And is this not at the core of what we want from the higher-ups at work? Would truly “seeing” people at work not help in defusing much of the unnecessary conflict, negative feelings and lack of engagement that we encounter in so many workplaces?
After all, the conventional wisdom says that people don’t leave their job—they leave their manager.
We can fix this and to help, here are 3 ways that leaders, or anyone on any team, can practice Sawubona at work, everyday:
So according to Gallup, about 70% of all U.S. workers (regardless of job type) are NOT engaged at work, a statistic that has remained pretty constant for decades now.
I don’t know about you but for me this is nothing short of scandalous.
It seems like an awful waste of time, money and human talent to continue to tolerate this state of affairs in any workplace. I’m left wondering how any organization can be effective (or long endure) when more than two-thirds of its people are practically counting down the minutes until the 5:30 whistle blows.
The responsibility for remedying this situation falls squarely on the shoulders of an organization’s managers, and I’d like to propose 3 strategies to fix this, based on Gallup’s Q12 study of the drivers of employee engagement at work.
However, before we can get started addressing these 3 strategies there is some preliminary work that should be completed. Managers must first ask themselves whether their people have the materials and equipment necessary to do their work correctly.
The answer is the story of two belief systems: the first and most common one holds you back, makes you miserable and can lead you down the path to unethical behavior; the second one frees you, arms you with the courage and strength to persevere in the face of obstacles and setbacks, and helps you to achieve your full potential.
Which of these mindsets would YOU prefer?
Actually, you chose a mindset a long time ago. Though you may not realize it, you’ve been living your life, making decisions, and paying the price (or reaping the rewards) in accordance to that choice ever since. So, whether or not you’re bringing your boldest self to whatever you’re doing right now, depends on the choice of mindset you made long ago.
That’s why a better question might be, which mindset did you choose?
In her 2006 gem of a book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Prof. Carol S. Dweck explains that people can be clumped into one of two groups:
We all know that business leaders get paid for their expertise, experience and insights, but the brightest and most impactful among them go a step further: they practice outsight.
What’s outsight, you ask?
Merriam-Webster defines it as “the power or act of perceiving external things.”
Those external things may include ideas, information, experiences, perspectives, analyses, strategies, critiques (and much more) that originate from outside the four walls of your organization.
Practicing outsight is a process by which you purposefully allow your people and yourself to be exposed to (and interact with) the reality and ideas of the outside world.
As a leader, this allows you to zoom out to survey the landscape for market shifts, threats or opportunities. This enriches your thinking and opens your mind to new possibilities, which you would never have seen otherwise.
By combining your insights with your ability to practice outsight, you can drive powerful change and improve results in your organization.
Here are 4 ways you can practice this important leadership strategy: