Friday, 14 September 2012

Doing business with conscience

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" 
(Maya Angelou)

Today I attended an event on 'Leadership and Employee Engagement - Doing business with conscience' at the MDA Training. I enjoyed the day and met newer people who shared with me a passion for the topic. Divided in small groups, we discussed theories, made behavioural activities together and learnt from each others throughout the day.

As usual I took notes and below are some marginalia I have just made of the day. I hope you can benefit from them.

Leadership is a conscious practice that requires:
  • AWARENESS. Knowing yourself, being conscious and having conscience in the choices you make. Being true to yourself and others.
  • TAKING ACTION. Awareness alone is not enough, leaders need to take the right actions and be clear about what they are creating in the world.
  • RESPONSIBILITY. Choosing considered risks rather than reckless ones, walking the talk, having integrity and living up to your inner values. A leaders greatest responsibility is to lead the group on the path of the higher consciousness.
  • EMPOWERMENT. It raises the status of the leader and team together. It is not about ego, but enabling people to achieve great things.
  • SYNCHRONICITY. Creating your own good luck and connect you and your people to the opportunities that exist out there.

Emotional loyalty is what it has to be generated ("I stay, do my best, give my all, go the extra mile because I want to") as opposed to functional loyalty ("I stay as I have a mortgage/rent to pay").

Different can be the levels of engagement (from the lowest to the highest):
Rebel or Quit —>  Malicious compliance —>  Willing compliance —> Cheerful cooperation —> Heartfelt commitment —> Creative excitement

Which are the most frequent barriers to engagement
Lack of clarity, lack of trust, employees are in roles that do not suit their talents, people are not sure about their place/part of their job, procedures that interfere with people ability to get things done, diluting people focus with tasks that do not add values and an over-directive culture ('My views do not count').

The role of leaders to create engagement is to:
  • Set the direction by painting a vision that is compelling enough to excite people yet simple enough to understand
  • Engage people in the vision so they see it, feel it, live it
  • Create clarity so they understand their role in creating it and how they fit in to the big picture
  • Create freedom with a framework - create clarity without stifling creativity
  • Be explicit about giving people 'permission to act' and make a difference
  • Listen, observe and recognise constantly
  • Be clear about your moral compass and live by it
  • Be straight with yourself and others
  • Have courage to have the challenging conversations
  • Role model the way
  • Encourage others to lead.

How to create engagement?
  • By making sure people are connected with the organisational identity, values and vision
  • By creating clarity wherever/whenever possible
  • By making sure people feel seen, heard and recognised 
  • By giving people the permission to lead, take action and make decisions
  • By talking to people, face to face
  • By giving people the message that they matter.

"Employee Engagement is a combination of commitment to the organisation and its values and a willingness to help out colleagues (organisational citizenship). It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply motivation. Engagement is something the employee has to offer: it cannot be 'required' as part of the employment contract" 
(CIPD definition)