Let me ask you a few personal questions…
- How do you typically feel on your drive to work? Eager and enthusiastic? Or listless and apathetic?
- How do you usually feel during your workday? Do you spend most of your day feeling motivated and energized, or dispirited and depleted?
- What about when you leave work at the end of your day? Do you typically feel gratified to have added value to a worthy mission, or do you feel like you want to run away and never come back?
Of course we all have some days that are better than others, but overall, when you think about your work experience, do you usually feel positive? The reason I ask is that, as noted in my last blog, your level of engagement directly impacts the level of engagement of your employees! In order to engage others, you have to feel engaged yourself, and be able to convey your engagement to your team.
The good news is that engagement can be internally cultivated, which means that you can generate and sustain your own personal feelings of engagement. How can we prime our brains to be engaged?
Here are some tips for feeling and conveying engagement:
Recognize and acknowledge how you make a difference
Become clear on your organization’s strategic direction and organizational priorities. Identify all the ways you contribute to the advancement of organizational goals.
Clarify your own sense of purpose. What aspects of your work provide meaning for you? Whether you provide direct care to residents or are in a leadership role that creates a great workplace and place to receive care, trace how the work you do on a daily basis ultimately makes a difference in the lives of employees and the residents you serve.
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of leadership. An essential condition for creating and sustaining personal feelings of engagement is the ability to consistently become aware and observant of your thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to those things that feel inspiring to you and reinforce your sense of competence and commitment. Be observant to those things that trigger discontent or frustration. When you become mindful of your reactions to various triggers, you can make deliberate, wise, and thoughtful choices, rather than reacting automatically. Having choices provides a sense of self-control and strength of mind.
Recognize your personal power
Whether you are a supervisor, department manager, facility administrator, regional director or CEO, you personally set the tone for the employees who report to you. You are the chief emotional influencer of your team. Through your behaviors and daily practices, you can role model excellence and then observe the influence that your actions have on the performance and engagement of others. When you role model high standards, demonstrate caring behaviors, and create an environment of trust, you influence others to do the same. That’s a lot of power. Use it wisely.
Deepen your social connections
Research tells us that strong social connections in our job setting helps us feel more passionate about our work. Experiencing camaraderie with co-workers creates a common sense of purpose and the mindset that “we’re all in this together.”
Adopt a growth mindset
Find something! Even if it’s just one thing, every day, to learn. Identify specific professional development opportunities – both formal training and informal learning – that will contribute to developing your skills and abilities. Own your professional development and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to grow in the areas that are of interest to you.
Ask for feedback
Are you getting feedback from your boss? If not, ask for it. Don’t wait for an annual performance review. Regularly ask your manager for the feedback you need to help you improve. Share your successes with your manager. Let your boss know your professional development goals and ask for his/her support in achieving them.
Take accountability for your engagement
At the end of each day, ask yourself this question: “Did I do my best to make my work meaningful, perform at my best, and build positive relationships?” Marshall Goldsmith, a highly recognized leadership coach, reminds us that while companies can do all kinds of things to promote engagement, we all have the opportunity to take responsibility for our own lives and to do our best to build our own engagement.
What’s in it for you? The degree to which you feel positive and engaged determines your level of productivity and impacts your health and well-being. Take responsibility for your own engagement and for conveying that engagement to your team.
“The world we have created is a product of our thinking;
it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
– Albert Einstein
Nancy Anderson, RN, MA, is the SVP of Engagement Solutions for Align. In her role, she provides strategic leadership and supports development of solutions to help providers successfully build and sustain a culture of engagement.