Establish a Meaningful Connection With...

I closed last time by sharing a definition but not the word it was tied to… If you’re to play along with Jeopardy, maybe you’ve already figured it out - but did you phrase it in the form of a question???

We started out by looking at two ideas that are suggested frequently as what employers should be paying attention to if they want to be effective at retaining their best team members; employee happiness and employee satisfaction. While I’m certainly not suggesting that leaving the folks in our organizations unhappy or unsatisfied will ever give us what we’re working for, I don’t believe either of those things necessarily helps us reach the levels of productivity - and in turn, profitability - that we really need or our teams are truly capable of. And that’s why I introduced the idea of “pledging or entering into a contract to DO something” as a critical differentiating factor!

Another definition of that same word is to “establish a meaningful contact or connection with,” and that meaningful connection almost always results in a deeper level of buy-in and a willingness to DO more for a bigger cause than just what satisfies us personally.

So what’s the word? ENGAGE

I often reference one of the most powerful lessons I learned through behavior-based safety, and how that same idea ties back to so many aspects of leadership; we can’t see attitudes, beliefs, or even feelings but we can see behaviors. And we learn to effectively observe behavior, we can often get an accurate understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, and feelings that drive those behaviors. Just as importantly, we can measure the impact of those behaviors over time!

With happiness and satisfaction both largely tying back to how we feel, I’d suggest that measuring the true impact of either is tough. But once we’re able to build either in a way that results in engagement - behaviors we can actually see - we have a shot at recognizing tangible results. When Cindy and I wrap up any session we do with individuals or groups, we always close by challenging each person to identify the specific action step they plan to take immediately based on what we just covered with them; what can they DO differently that will make a difference with the teams they lead? When we work with someone through a Strategic Leadership Coaching relationship, we build on that even more by challenging the individual to define the actual behaviors they’re using as they take those action steps, and what their team members see them doing differently, with the goal of earning a higher level of influence with those team members and leading them more effectively as a result. 

When we earn influence and authentic leadership, the team around us will likely be more happy about the environment and have a higher level of satisfaction. But this also gives us a platform to share a bigger vision and earn something called employee engagement! And we’ll begin digging into why employee engagement is so important soon!

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