Recently I was invited to observe a team meeting and the leader, who is new to the organization. The team had quietly expanded the service to their user community, with demonstrable results and tangible metrics, despite some challenging technology issues and little management support or direction. Questions were asked and the team began to generate some solutions for their challenges building on the successes being made when suddenly the leader told the team the solution to implement for this leader had worked with the vendor before and had made it work in the past. Can you imagine what the energy level of the room suddenly became?
What makes you truly become engaged in your professional setting? More to the point, what jazzes you and gets you to bring your “A” game? What makes you decide to sit back and listen instead? I do not think the team I observed became disengaged themselves; rather an organizational leader never engaged them to begin with.
My challenge is how to guide and coach an organization, and a leader, that chooses to disengage. I do not completely buy into the Gallup research about disengaged employees, I believe people get up every day wanting to be involved in creating success for their organization and themselves. Somewhere we, as leaders, move from wanting to do a good job to becoming convinced that “me” is smarter than “we” and the collaboration is lost. A recent posting noted that you can’t predict talent that you have to foster it and the first point targets creating an open environment, a trusted space and place. We may have to coach our employees on how to engage the organization so we can all bring our “A” game to work! More importantly how “we” can come to work together and build for success. As I look for ways to engage the management team, it helps knowing that money is not a key driver. In the post, “9 Things that Motivate Employees more than Money” the point made is to engage the person by valuing their opinions, creating leaders no matter the title, foster ideation from the team (even if “seeded”), and give honest recognition and praise. It does start with a person yet the beauty, and strength, is in the creation of the community, the collaborative.