On Work, Play and True Engagement.

by Monica on July 5, 2009

bigstockphoto_Pebble_Stack_Version_216376I like my collaborators to have a life! I’ll contribute to this as much as I can. I Also like them to love work and be inspired! We do that together. I admit I have sometimes had to bite my lip and remind myself what I want from them. The old ways seep in and I second guess my leadership if someone needs to leave early for personal reasons. I want to create a community in the workplace. Somewhere to share our lives as well as the work we do together. It usually works well and attracts the kind of independent, driven people I want in my company. Can this be abused? Yes. Are those people still on my team? No.

My organization is of course a small operation, but still, I have seen the principle work in my corporate clients’ workforces. If you need to supervise the life balance of your team one way or the other, they are not truly engaged in work. Work that is attractive and makes people feel like they are offering significant contributions to the organization and the world rarely has trouble with finding engaged individuals.  Results are commonplace and time is always used wisely.  It is when work is handled like it is unimportant that people will do it only because of the pay or because there is the perception that they “have no choice”.

It is interesting to me how much we worry in the corporate setting about whether people are abusing the company and slacking off.  Wouldn’t we be better off exploring how compelling our work offering is?  After all, we all know people that love their job and do it with a heart regardless of what it entails.  I know this valet guy at my club that takes my car and always has a smile and happy word for each person.  I told them the other day that it looked like he enjoyed his work, in spite of the heat and running around all day.  He said he felt he was helpful and liked greeting people so they could relax once they were here.

True engagement will leave you energized instead of depleted.  I notice every Tuesday as all 20 of us come in from our day jobs to rehearse the BIG BRAZZ BAND.  Some of us arrive a bit late and tired from traffic or the day’s work.  As the music begins, our energy rises and by the time we take a break we are a lively group, ready to share laughs and musings and pizza!  When you are enjoying yourself, even working hard at it – like a 2 hour rehearsal after a full day’s work – your energy rises and you feel like connecting and sharing and pitching in.  Does this happen when you get home?  Are you ready to play as hard as you work?  Are you engaged with the people around you?  Find engagement in your job and this will most definitely be the case!

So, you want your team to be engaged?  Help them find joy and purpose in their work.  Do it by first asking yourself if you have joy and purpose in your every day on the job.  It is not the nature of work, but the way we interpret it that makes it a true extension of our life mission or a dull way to pass the time.  So, seek until you find.  Share.  Have fun! Have purpose!  And you may never have to talk about engagement again.  You will be to engaged in life!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Jo Asmus July 6, 2009 at 7:52 am

Wonderfully said, Monica. If you want employees to be engaged – create an environment of purpose and joy! Love it.

Susan Mazza July 6, 2009 at 11:37 am

Excellent post! You’ve provided quite a bit of food for thought here.

This point in particular really resonates with me: “It is not the nature of work, but the way we interpret it that makes it a true extension of our life mission or a dull way to pass the time.” Far too many people are victims of their jobs and it really doesn’t have to be that way.

As individuals we owe it to ourselves to make sure there is a purpose and a commitment served by everything we do in life. The separation of life and work is such an artificial one, especially when you look at how much of our life we actually spend working!

Yet I see far too many employers/managers being victims of their employees. I love this question: wouldn’t we be better off exploring how compelling our work offering is? I think answering this question can be a potent “antidote” for dealing with the unengaged. You can’t make someone have a purpose, but a strong leader will always be attentive to enrolling their people in a possibility more compelling and meaningful than may be apparent in the task at hand.

Gwyn Teatro July 6, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I love the passage, “If you need to supervise the life balance of your team one way or the other, they are not truly engaged in work.”

It speaks so well to shared responsibility and the notion that engagement is not a one-way proposition.

A great post. Thank you

wow gold August 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm

A wonderful article…. In my life, I have never seen a man be so selfless in helping others around him to get along and get working. I feel good that there are people like you too. Thanks for this great weblog of yours. Its surely going to get me to go to higher places!

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