Best Led When Spread

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July 2010

Best Led When Spread
In the May Edge, we began our focus on Employee Engagement. In sum, employee engagement is one of the keys to the success of any business with an employee/talent base. Since we likely agree that engagement is a crucial success factor, then the question rapidly arises; whose responsibility is it that your employees and leaders are engaged?

Oft times when executives and leaders begin to consider the value of employee engagement as it relates to their team’s performance and organization’s bottom line, they take immediate ownership of it. It makes total sense to them and it’s time to start building a more highly engaged culture. Bravo, they are right! But one thing… after a time, it also surfaces that this engagement thing can be burdensome and tiresome. Getting everyone engaged is much easier said than done. There must be better ways to shift to an engagement culture..

A general consideration I would like to share with you is influenced by the world of executive coaching and its adult rules: Make them responsible and accountable for becoming engaged and leading engagement. Joint responsibility is key. There is a little irony here about initiating and leading the engagement effort. Employee engagement, by its very definition requires participation. Employee engagement is best led when spread. Single source leadership is just too time consuming and limiting. Below are a couple of ways to begin leading the move toward a more engaged culture:

Let them know. Dan, an executive with whom I have been working, distributed the May Edition of The Edge (about employee engagement) to his direct reports. An engaging move. Why? He wanted them to know about Employee Engagement to heighten awareness and to begin the discussion. All are to be invited. Most good people want to do a good job and once they know what is expected, can get just as passionate about the success of the business or the effort as you can. The move toward employee engagement is not done in secret.

Define engagement together. You go first. After you have shared with your people this thing called employee engagement, ask them to define it. What does engagement look like in your world according to them? And another question, “Why be engaged?” What are you building? This past winter, Kevin, another leader with whom I have been working solicited input from his people about their team’s vision. Together, they have been illustrating a desired state that will be engagement-worthy for all of them.

Authentic employee engagement is everybody’s business.

nd this is rich in opportunity.


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