As each of us, either as workers or business owners, face the growing need for social distancing as a part of our daily lives, it seems appropriate to provide the tools that can help both the employer and the employee engage in ways that benefit everyone involved.
While recently reading “Triggers”, by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter, I had a watershed insight that connected recent research team discussions concerning the role of mental context when taking our assessments, to creating the most efficient workplace engagement mindsets.
Cultivate a First Person Perspective
The connection first arose while our research team analyzed specific assessment items that appeared to be providing more of a perception of social expectations than describing personal traits. In other words, some of the items were general in tone and failed to place the individual assessment taker in a position of assessing THEIR personal perceptions.
For example, “helping others” may be an accepted social norm held by many. But does the idea of helping others represent a core reason for a person to get up in the morning? Our discussion centered on the possible need of altering both assessment instructions and items to be far more first person in nature instead of third person, which allows an individual to view an idea from outside themselves.
All of this was on my mind as I read Goldsmith’s chapters on the power of active questions and how a first-person perspective can alter workplace engagement levels.
“How engaged were you this week? Or do you find your work meaningful and fulfilling?”
Personal Responsibility Is Key
Goldsmith points out that businesses far too often expect the employer, not the employee to solely be responsible for creating engaged workers. This sentence created a flash back to comments I often heard from my brother Bill J. Bonnstetter; “One of the most important soft skills needed by most employees is personal accountability.”
Goldsmith also points out that most of our present checks of productivity are designed with a passive third person voice. Things like “How engaged were you this week? Or do you find your work meaningful and fulfilling?”
Not only are these examples lacking any form of measurement, but failure when stated from the third person viewpoint can easily be attributed to others with no personal accountability. Goldsmith offers six starter questions that he suggests be visited every day and that running scores using a 10-point scale of accomplishment be recorded.
He goes on to point out that those few who actually stay with this list end up establishing new habits of mind that lead to far more workplace engagement as well as increased personal satisfaction.
These daily engagements checks include:
- Did I do my best to set clear goals today?
- Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals today?
- Did I do my best to find meaning today?
- Did I do my best to be happy today?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
- Did I do my best to fully engage today?
The simple process of making these statements personal (first person) and having these thought-provoking ideas on our mind each day, alters our behavior. While this list of six daily engaging questions are a great place to start, I would like to share my personal list so you can consider adding permutations to your own list. I might add that embracing this or any other form of daily reflection is a personal decision and is best accomplished when an individual initiates and commits to the process rather than a top down mandate.