A common buzz in leadership talk today is `engagement’. Like many of the labels that came before it, engagement can be cumbersome to fully wrap your arms around. A tricky part of engagement is you may seek another person for advice and find that you don’t agree with the person’s proposed plan of action. Now what do you do? Surely, the situation can easily slip into the person being disengaged if you ignore the input. Well this happened to me recently. I thought to myself how will I come out on the other side of this so I don’t have egg on my face. But more importantly, how do I keep the relationship healthy, which is important to me.
Pondering this thought, I had to release the thinking that my way is the best way; human natural always raises its head, I’m guessing you know what I mean. Do similar situation playout with you? In my case, I decided to let it soak in a bit before rejecting my colleague’s idea. Pulling from my own leadership advice, I decided to force myself to keep an open mind. I decided to truly explore his opinion to grasp where he was coming from. I wanted to find something I could agree with that my colleague presented me.
At first I doubted that I could come up with something. After a bit of time elapsed, it hit me that we both have very valid points and that I could weave together pieces of each of our proposals to build a better solution. I haven’t had the opportunity to present the combined vision of how we can proceed but know the cornucopia of our ideas will eventually crave out a solution we are both pleased with and with leave us highly engaged and committed to make the solution work.
Engagement truly is getting real involvement from those on your team. In some cases, it will challenge you to create real dialogue in your own head about differing viewpoints and to truly be open to adapt a solution beyond your own. Know that when you honor another person’s vision, it says you value her or his contributions. Also being able to stay open to others’ ideas lets your leadership shine through and exudes collaboration and teamwork to those around you. And when you find you cannot accept another’s approach because it simply isn’t the right one at this time, take time to share your rationale for the decision you will make and genuinely thank the person for her input.
As I conclude this blog, I challenge you to truly seek ways to engage colleagues and members of your team. Engagement allows us the opportunity to see beyond our own thoughts.