AVOID THE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT TRAP


EMPLOYEE ENG

Engaged employees work harder, produce more, lead happier and more fulfilled lives, and create better societies. They thrive at work, at home, and in life. Lucky for your employees, you’re sophisticated enough to grasp this, and evolved enough to want to create it for them.

Actually, that may not be so lucky for them, or for you. Your perspective on employee engagement creates a trap, and it’s one into which many of your fellow illuminati are falling. Ironically, it’s caused primarily by your increased attention to engagement relative to your less evolved peers.

Those lesser managers just don’t care if their employees are engaged or not. Some of them don’t even know it! They stumble through their management careers under the misconception that if the employees aren’t happy, it’s the employees’ problem. Employees can quit if they want to, and be replaced. The unenlightened have no grasp of the hard and soft costs of disengagement.

They’re wrong, of course, and that’s how the trap is set: If what they’re doing is wrong, the opposite of what they’re doing must be right. So if not knowing or caring whether your employees are engaged is wrong, then taking full responsibility for your employees’ engagement must be right.

They stumble through their management careers under the misconception that if the employees aren’t happy, it’s the employees’ problem. 

And so, in proper highly-evolved form, you take ownership. You ask employees, in person and via survey, whether they’re engaged and joyful at work. On its face, it’s a reasonable line of questioning: “How well are we doing at keeping you engaged, and how can we do better?”

The trap slams shut. You’ve just notified you’re employees that it’s your job to keep them happy. They respond with a list of demands. They can’t be happy until they’re given higher salary, greater responsibility, a more impressive title, a view, and a bean bag chair. But there are only so many raises to go around, so many projects to do and titles to have, and so many square feet in which to pile the bean bags. So you find yourself negotiating: Give Penny the promotion, Tammy the Title, and William the window. And have HR announce that bean bags pose a trip hazard.

Suddenly, nobody’s happy. You’ve failed at employee engagement, because you can’t give them what they want.

But where did it all go wrong? Was it overly demanding employees, scarce salary budgets, or draconian job title guidelines?

The trap slams shut. You’ve just notified you’re employees that it’s your job to keep them happy.

Sorry, but it was you. No matter how well-meaning you are, “I’ll make you happy” is a recipe for disaster, at work and in teen romance. When you try to take responsibility for another person’s happiness, you create a dysfunctional, dependent relationship.

Avoid the trap. Attend to engagement without promising happiness. Build an environment that allows people to grow without putting yourself in the role of Santa Claus. Tell employees it’s up to them to find their own engagement, and up to you to encourage and support them in doing so. Be honest about what needs to get done for your team to succeed, and the fact that it won’t all be fun. And teach employees to troubleshoot their own engagement issues. Help them to work toward what they most enjoy even as they perform their jobs well today.

As your employees improve at their current jobs, they’ll have more options and directions in which to grow. As they learn to troubleshoot engagement problems and recognize what they enjoy, they’ll move into work that engages them at a higher level. Over time, the entire system will evolve toward greater employee engagement, and attract even more talent. In the process, it will thrive.

No matter how well-meaning you are, “I’ll make you happy” is a recipe for disaster, at work and in teen romance.

That’s engagement done right. It’s exciting, it’s positive, it attracts and retains great employees, and it builds community through productivity. And, it’s better than a giant pile of bean bag chairs.

ENGAGEMENT 1

Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

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Leadership Presence


Increasing your Leadership Presence involves complex, interrelated factors.

  1. Identify and clarify your vision of the future, not only for yourself but for those you lead, or want to lead. Document your vision (in writing!) and then communicate it in a way that inspires people to follow it.

  2. Consider how you appear to others. Start with your appearance, but give more than a passing glance at your inner self and soul (or whatever you call that intangible part of you that projects your values.) Do something to improve at least one of the above, every day.

  3. Get some practice in leaving decisions to other people, especially to those who really want to contribute in the way that decision-making requires. (This sounds easier than it is. People who want to lead generally like to be in control.)

Leadership Presence is a path, not a destination.

LEADERSHIP PRES 1

Curated by Trevor Lee
tblee@ep-i.net
http://www.ep-i.net
@trevorblee

 

Motivate Your Team by Connecting Their Work to What Matters


All managers need to motivate their employees, but many struggle to get it right.

Bosses looking to deliver an effective pep talk should explain why the work they are asking people to do is important.

How do the employees’ tasks connect to the organization’s purpose? Point out ways your team is making a real difference for customers, the community, or each other.

The CEO of a pharmaceutical startup, for example, might say, “I know everyone here wants to help save lives from heart disease. That’s what our work is all about.”

Or you can connect your employees’ responsibilities to their personal aspirations. A fast-food restaurant manager could tell teenage workers, “One of our company goals is to provide good, stable jobs so that you have money to help your families and save for college.”

Research shows that connecting work to meaning is the toughest part of a pep talk to deliver, but getting it right is essential to motivating your team.

Adapted from “The Science of Pep Talks,” by Daniel McGinn

MOTIVATE 2

Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

Six Attributes of Collaborative Leaders


These 6 attributes may not be the familiar leadership competences taught at many business schools but it is my belief that they underpin success in today’s collaborative world.

1. Patience
The terrain will change, but collaborative leaders are patient with their partners and with themselves. Your direction may be clear, but you will need a flexible approach to getting there and accept that this will take time.

2. Collective decision making
Decisions made by leaders in isolation and enforced by hierarchical power aren’t sustainable in today’s world. Inclusive decision making informed by bottom up data is key.

3. Quick thinking
You need to be able to see both opportunities and risks before others do, and act in response to them. This requires a quick intellect, and the confidence and courage to implement new ideas whilst taking people with you.

4. Tenacity
The world we describe isn’t a stable one. Governments come and go; dramatic events happen, you cannot produce a detailed plan of action and expect to see it through step by step. Successful collaborative leaders are tenacious in the pursuit of results that deliver the overall common purpose.

5. Building relationships
Collaborative leaders go out to find future partners, identify sponsors, make new alliances – and are prepared to do all this in unexpected places. They invest energy in doing this sort of networking activity ahead of time, so they can call on these relationships when the pressure is on.

6. Handling conflict
Interdependent relationships are multi-layered and always contain seeds of possible conflict. Collaborative leaders don’t see conflict as a mark of failure – rather it is part of the territory, and they are confident in holding the difficult but necessary conversations that help to bring about a resolution.

COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP 1

Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Ask Your Employees More Questions


As you move up in an organization, people increasingly look to you for answers.

But the best leaders don’t provide all of the solutions — they inspire curiosity, creativity, and deeper thinking in their employees. And that starts with asking the right questions.

Encourage your employees to slow down and explain what they’re proposing in more detail by saying something simple and to-the-point, like “Wait, what?” You could also use phrases like “I wonder why…” to encourage curiosity. And then follow up with “I wonder if things could be done differently.”

Another question to try: “How can I help?” – this question forces your colleague to define the problem, which is the first step toward owning and solving it.

Adapted from “5 Questions Leaders Should Be Asking All the Time,” by James E. Ryan

 

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Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

To Motivate Employees, Show Them How Their Work Helps Customers


We all want to know that our jobs matter.

When an employee’s work seems lacklustre, or office morale is low, remind them of who their work helps.

Giving someone a concrete picture of their work’s impact can be self-affirming as well as motivational.

Studies have shown that cooks feel more motivated and work harder when they see people eating their food, for example.

Even if the results of your employees’ work aren’t so tangible, giving them specific names and stories of those who’ve benefited from their efforts can offer a window into the good that their work does.

So take time to talk about the customer who is able to make more sales (and therefore a better living) thanks to your company’s software, or the parent who’s driving a safe car thanks to diligence on the assembly line.

The key is to make a direct connection from the employee to those who benefit from their work.

MOTIVATE 2

Curated by Trevor Lee

https://www.linkedin.com/in/trevorblee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Top tips for the digital world! from Andrew Grill*


1. Learn a new language.  

“To get digital, you have to be digital. Instead of learning Spanish, learn the “language of digital”. If the terms Internet of Things, Blockchain, Cognitive or Cloud leave you scratching your head, research these technologies and understand how they can impact and enhance your company and industry.

2. Walk a digital mile in your competitor’s shoes. 

Alan Mulally (former Ford CEO) was once asked what car he drove. His response: “I make a point to drive a different vehicle every day, including the competition, so I understand the customer’s view”.

You need to do the same! Interact with a competitor via digital channels, then you will see what your competitors are doing and how you compare from a digital standpoint.

3. Look at the composition of your board. Do you have Digital Diversity?

To benefit from digital disruption, you need a board that can see things through a digital lens. So, rotate people on your board with those that have a deep grasp of the digital scene. If the board isn’t ready to be disrupted, put together a digital advisory board to play the role of Digital Non-Exec Director until you are truly ready to shake things up.

4. Increase your intake of news items and topics related to digital transformation from outside your industry. 

How do I learn about the latest happenings in the digital world? Not from my own industry, but from others! Use Twitter and LinkedIn to scan other industry discussions on digital disruption. The paid version of Pocket, also suggests relevant articles, which has been a great way to keep up with the deluge of digital thought leadership and debate produced daily.

*Andrew is Global Managing Partner at IBM, Practical Futurist, TEDx & Keynote Speaker, Board Advisor

DIGITAL AGE

 

via Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com