Power of Engagement - ZM Coach
Are you or your team members feeling blah?

Are you struggling to motivate team members, who are distracted and disengaged?

Or are you feeling disengaged yourself – sluggish, meh, or simply out of energy for work?

This week we’re talking about why Employee Engagement has never been so important, and what you can do to impact it, even if you’re struggling to stay energized.

If you’re:

  • feeling disengaged in your work, or
  • overwhelmed and worried it might lead you to start to disengage, or
  • struggling to lead a team where people are distracted and disengaged

I can help. Book a call with me today. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and talk about your situation, and steps you can take right away to turn it around. As we’re digging into that, if it looks like you’d benefit from ongoing support, and we’re a fit to work together, we’ll talk about what that would like.

Either way, I promise it will be one of the best conversations you’ve had about your career.

The Problem

Employee engagement has never been more challenging, or more important.

What is Employee Engagement? It may seem like it’s only something that HR measures in a survey every year. People fuss over it for a few weeks, and then everything goes back to normal. Employee engagement is so much more. It’s the energy that drives results. It’s when everyone is on point, focused, doing their best work. It’s when people are showing up with energy and ideas. It’s what it feels like when everyone brings their creativity and their spirit to their work.

Sadly, employee engagement is severely lacking in the U.S. Even before the pandemic this was true. Gallup reports that in 2019 employee engagement was up – at 35%. They saw this as something to celebrate, because it was a point or two better than before. The fact that 65% of employees in the U.S. aren’t engaged is not something to celebrate. That means 2/3’s of employees are only showing up and going through the motions. They’re putting in time, checked out. Watch any show about office life and you can see what a trope this has become in our culture. It’s sad.

The pandemic has made this even worse. People are distracted by real concerns about safety. They’re worried about the economy. They fear for their jobs. They’re juggling childcare. All of this means even lower levels of engagement, as people struggle to get through the day.

You may be feeling this yourself – sluggish, disconnected, blah. Finding it hard to get up in the morning, hard to get excited about what you’re working on. There’s plenty of work to do, but you’re hard-pressed to find the energy to tackle it all.

You’ve likely seen it in your team members. Lack of productivity. Not being proactive. Letting problems slide by without addressing them. Waiting to be told what to do. This puts you in a difficult spot. You don’t want to micromanage, but getting anything done feels like pushing string up hill.

It’s a real problem. Engaged energy is necessary if we’re to overcome the current challenges. It will take hard work and creativity to serve customers and constituents in new ways. Engaged energy is also important for teamwork. New ways of working require coordination, collaboration and communication. That’s the kind of thing that gets dropped when people are disengaged, just moving through their days.

Employee engagement will make all the difference. The people that are successful will be the ones who bring their energy to work and pull together. That means, as a manager, “engagement” needs to be one of the top words in your vocabulary.

Re-Engaging Yourself

First for yourself. Here are a few strategies for finding your energy for work:

  • Get in touch with your purpose and why you do what you do can be a way to re-energize your work.
  • Use your purpose to keep you focused on what matters and reduce overwhelm. People disengage when they feel like they’re fighting a losing battle. If your “to do” list for a given day would actually take 5 days to complete, of course you’re going to disengage.
  • Negotiate your commitments with your boss and your colleagues. Those can be tricky conversations, especially when everyone feels swamped. They are necessary, though. The trick is to do it in a way that comes across as strategic. Focus on the benefits to the company, rather than making it about you.
  • Create routines that fuel you: getting enough sleep; eating well; exercising; meditating. Routines that help you shift gears between home and work are important. If you used to commute, your transit time created that shift. Without it, you’ll need other practices to help you distinguish work time from home time.

This is a core piece of what I do with my clients. We hone in on their purpose. We use that to focus their efforts. They develop practices that help them keep work in balance with the rest of their lives. They learn how to engage their leadership effectively. All of that creates the conditions necessary for their success.

Re-Engaging Your Team

Managing disengaged team members can be tricky. This is one of the common patterns I see managers falling into:

Someone is underperforming. You try a couple of things to get them back on track, but they don’t step up. So you start filling in, covering for them. That, in turn, results in them taking even less responsibility. And you stepping in more. Before you know it, you’re doing most of their job on top of yours. You feel overwhelmed and beat yourself up for micromanaging. Sound familiar?

If so, you’re not alone – remember, employee engagement is only at around 35%. If you have a team of 10 reporting to you, 3-4 of those team members are likely to be somewhat engaged, but the other 6-7 are not. No wonder you feel so overwhelmed!

To break this cycle, you need to create real ownership and accountability on your team. You need to motivate the 65%. You need to help them believe that their work matters. You need to get comfortable holding the line. You need to give effective feedback.

You also need to tap into the energy and spirit of the 35% who are already engaged. They need to feel like their ideas and input matter. They need to feel like you trust them. They need to know that you appreciate their efforts.

These are skills I help clients develop. They discover how to rally their teams around a common “why.” They learn how to set clear expectations. They get comfortable giving feedback, and holding people accountable for results. They find ways to make time to celebrate accomplishments. They learn how to build a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.  All of which contributes to more employee engagement – and ultimately, better results.

Want help?

If you’re:

  • feeling disengaged in your work, or
  • overwhelmed and worried it might lead you to start to disengage, or
  • struggling to lead a team where people are distracted and disengaged,

I can help. Book a call with me today. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and talk about your situation. We’ll identify steps you can take right away to turn it around. If you want ongoing support, and we’re a fit to work together, we’ll talk about what that would like. Either way, I promise it will be one of the best conversations you’ve had about your career.

I look forward to talking with you.

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