What is employee engagement and where does it begin? Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort. It begins with you, the leader, employee number one, head of the pack.
People sense your level of engagement. They read you like a book, carefully interpreting every facial expression. They read your lines, and in between the lines. People react to what you say and the way you say it. They hear and interpret the subtlest undertones in your voice. They know how engaged you are, as a leader, employee number one, head of the pack.
You are the CEO, chief engagement officer. How engaged are you? What’s your level of your emotional commitment to the organization and its goals? How much discretionary effort do you apply?
You are the CEO, chief engagement officer. How engaged are you?
Let’s look at these questions, together, beginning with…
I know leaders who love what they do, enjoy the people who work with and for them, and are driven by their vision. Ed is one of these leaders. I heard him tell an up and coming senior manager why leading at the executive level is more engaging and fulfilling. “It makes all the difference when it’s your vision. For me, there’s much more excitement, passion and energy in leading hundreds of people to charge down a path I carved out, and to see them making progress.”
Ed is a highly engaged leader (and employee). He seems unlimited by the 24 daily hours that constrain the rest of us. He always replies to emails, no matter from whom, even if just to say, “Got it”. People sense they have 100% of Ed’s mindshare when they meet with him. That’s leadership engagement.
Ed is old enough and wealthy enough to retire. Why is he still working? Ten years ago Ed created a vision, a path to get there, and goals to measure success. Ed can’t leave, won’t leave, and doesn’t want to leave until that vision becomes a reality. That’s leadership engagement.
Are you an engaged leader?
What’s your level of your emotional commitment to the organization and its goals? How much discretionary effort do you apply?
To test your leadership engagement
Rate your level of agreement with the following statements on a 1-5 scale (1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree)
1. I love what I do (Emotional commitment)
It’s unreasonable to expect that any of us will love every task related to our role. The real question here is one of meaning. Do you find, or create, meaning in what you do, so that even mundane tasks, or those you like least, are worth it?
2. I would put in 110% effort if my salary + bonus + stock was cut by 40% (Discretionary effort)
3. I am energized by the vision I set for the company? (Emotional commitment)
4. I would commit 110% effort to achieve this vision if my salary + bonus + stock was cut by 40%. (Discretionary effort)
5. I’m emotionally invested in the people who work with and for me? (Emotional commitment)
6. If my salary + bonus + stock was cut by 40% would I continue to spend time and energy on these relationships (Discretionary effort)
If your scores are:
All or mostly 5s – CONGRATULATIONS – YOU’RE A HIGHLY ENGAGED LEADER
Mostly 3 or lower – You’re not a highly engaged leader, and it’s likely your employees are no more engaged than you are. You’ve got work to do. Begin by finding, or creating, meaning in your work, developing a vision you care about, and investing your time and attention in developing deeper relationships with the people who work for and with you. Get to know who they are, within and beyond their job functions and discover what they, and you, find most meaningful.
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