Friday, September 11, 2009

Relationships: To Control or Engage?

Part 7 of a continuing series on CEOing

As soon as you begin to think about having any kind of relationships in your life, you will be faced with the choice to control or engage others. This is true for your friends, family and of course, your employees.

Controlling things is a natural human tendency to keep things predictable. No one likes surprises, especially on the job, and so some owners, entrepreneurs and managers can be pretty insistent on having it done “their way” or, well, you know, something about the highway. The thought here, I suppose, is to frighten people into performance. Yet according to The Gallup Organization, a research firm that has tracked good and bad engagement practices for the past decade, these kinds of ego driven approaches have resulted in 74% of our managers being disengaged: not growing themselves, their people or their company.

Now I have nothing against firing people for non-performance. But as leaders our charge is to grow and engage people, and so far there has been precious little in the management conversation about how to actually do it. So let’s take a closer look at what it takes to engage people and let’s begin with a basic definition of what it means to be engaged.

Engage – v 1. to employ or hire

Well that’s not very engaging! It says people are engaged if they are simply employed or hired. Is there a more empowering definition of engagement? Yes, there is. Here’s our definition of engaged after asking over 3000 people what it meant to them to be engaged. See if you can relate to what they told us.

To be engaged is to feel…

• Part of something meaningful
• Challenged with respect
• Appreciated for my contribution
• Responsible for the outcome

The key to being engaged is how we feel about what we are doing. Given what we learned in the BEAR Model, (Beliefs > Emotions > Actions > Results) we know that how we feel depends upon what we believe. So what does the average employee believe about the workplace, exactly?

The work force currently believes: (Source: Dilbert Comic Strip)

• Bosses are idiots
• Employees are helpless and hopeless

Now these beliefs are not universally true, of course, but not being true has nothing to do with whether it’s believed or not or that it won’t affect performance. As leaders, knowing exactly how to uncover and then shift limiting beliefs into empowering ones is critical to begin the journey to a fully engaged workforce. Stay tuned as we explore how to uncover what’s really driving your people and your clients.

Next month:
Creating a Game worth Playing.
Copyright 2009 Thomas A. Voccola All rights reserved

Entrepreneur, speaker, author and CEO Guide, Tom Voccola is the CEO of CEO2, a Chief Executive Consulting Firm specializing in the rapid transformation of corporate and organizational cultures. Tom is the co-founder and past Chairman of the Los Angeles area CEO Round Table for the American Electronics Association, and the author of The Accidental CEO – A Leader’s Journey from Ego to Purpose. His life’s work is to inspire a new generation of leaders who transcend ego and its fear based agenda. His work gives executives immediate and authentic access to new levels of power, influence and freedom within their organizations.

1 comment:

Dawna said...

Nice post Tom. Just in case CEOs reading this still think that employing is good enough to engage Jay Bragdon's research documented in his book Profit for Life makes it pretty clear. Command and control does not generate performance. Companies who still hang on to command and control get left behind both in terms of their agility and market performance. A series of four interviews with Jay is posted on Evolutionary Provocateur. No question. Ones personal relationship with ones ego is now out in the open. Security comes from within; not from the job title.