John Everyman’s Take On This Engagement Stuff

I’ve been hearing so much about how I need to be more engaged in my work. The company has been surveying us and holding focus groups and more meetings after meetings. You’ve been going on and on so much about all this that I thought I should look into things since you’re being about as clear as this cup of coffee.

All I can say is “what’s all the fuss about?” If you’re really concerned about my well-being and you really want the most out of me and you really want to know what it takes, I’ll tell you what if you’ll listen.

I Need Vision. I need to be part of something bigger than me. We all do. If the big picture you’re painting for me doesn’t grab me, am I in the right job with the right company? Or, are you just not telling the story well enough for me to buy in? I really do crave something more meaningful than just doing the same old stuff day in day out with little apparent purpose.

I Need Direction. I feel a lot better about my work when I know the company is doing the right stuff and I’m doing the right things too. I’m not alone in feeling more than a little nervous following a leader who seems to be lost or is continuously out blazing new trails. What the heck is the plan and are we doing OK?

Just What Is It You Expect? Sometimes it seems that you’re so worried about my satisfaction that you forget you’re my boss. Why are you so worried about how I’ll react if you lay out my expectations and accountabilities? I could stand the clarity, seriously–it beats the heck out of guessing what you expect me to do then being told later I guessed wrong.

Hold Me and the Others Equally Accountable. Why should it surprise you that I get really tired of people getting away with not doing the kind of job they are capable of and are expected to do! And just because I’m cursed with caring about my work I end up picking up their slack. And they get away with it. The people you should really care about feel the same way I do.

Show Me, Don’t Just Tell Me. Like it or not, because you’re so high up there it’s easy for me to watch you. Because it’s the safe thing to do, I mirror your behavior and your attitude. It’s what I think you probably expect out of me but I’d feel a lot better if I really knew. “Do as I do” carries a lot of weight, can you handle it?

Give Me What I Need. It doesn’t take an Einstein to understand this. If you send me off to hunt grizzly bears I know I’m going to get mauled if all you give me is some worn out old slingshot. Don’t set me up to fail, if for no other reason because it makes you look bad too.

Follow Up, Follow Through. Maybe you should check in now and then to make sure things are going according to plan and I don’t need anything to get my work done. If you’ve made my expectations clear and made sure I have what I need to deliver, and if I’m still not willing or able to deliver the goods then we both have a problem.

And I’ve earned your solution.

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