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.

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11 comments on “Engagement
  1. Richard Robinson says:

    The art of engagement require true listening. Taking the time to put your views aside and focus on your teammates input. It is drilling down on what they are trying to get across. Not so much the words they use but the concept they are trying to share. I find that I need to listen and after listening I need to listen some more. I have to pause and try to see where they are going. I find it important to step back look at the big picture and seek how to incorporate their concept in the outcome we seek. I must say, it’s not always easy. It takes some energy but the outcome of having your team mates seeing how important their contribution and participation is worth it. My view of the art of engagement is seeing my teammates operating with all engines firing. Not just teammates but stakeholders on any projects. Now, with them operating at full throttle how can we utilize our ideas and ingenuity to his the mark.

  2. Viola Fugate-Watkins says:

    I found your article interesting and very true. I think it is important for leaders to show their teams that their opinions are valued. By engaging members of my team and getting their feedback, I have been able to get new procedures in place that have improved the working environment and morale. The team now feel like their feedback is valued and was used to improve their working environment and the operations of the department.

  3. Beth Cutshall says:

    As leaders, we must value the perspective of others on our team. As we have seen from our leadership classes and assessments, and truly see as we work with others, everyone has something different to bring to the table. Diversity produces great results! As a creative thinker, I need that person at my table who holds my feet to the fire, holds me to that policy or deadline! When I appreciate the value of the diverse experiences of those on my team, they will become engaged in what we create together, because everyone has a part in it. There is a scripture that says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our treasure is not just our money, but our time, effort, and energy. When we get everyone to bring their “treasure” to the table, we become fully engaged; bringing our heart to the labor, and what a wonderful result we can produce!

  4. Tina Nelson says:

    Leadership Strengths?

    Identifying my leadership Strengths and the leadership strengths of others can be challenging, but once I am able to clearly identify my strengths, I then have the ability to identify the strengths of others. By engaging the strengths of others, I can then use these to make our team, department, and organization more efficient, productive, and satisfying.

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  6. Betesia Butler says:

    I think your story of your recent encounter is the perfect example of group engagement. When you incorporate the ideas of all the individuals in the team effort, its a great way of making everyone feel good, knowing that they made a contribution to something much greater than the team.

    I, for one, can admit that when my suggestions are used (no matter how small they are) I feel that my leaders and the rest of the team value me as a team member. As a leader, I hope to always keep that feeling in the back of my mind so that I never forget the importance of making each member of the team feel needed and equally important.

    • Gwen Onatolu says:

      There is an innate part in all of us that yearns to be valued. Engagement, in my opinion, is one way we can fulfill that need in those we touch in our work environments. Of course, this same approach works in our personal lives as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Shontina Floyd says:

      I would have to say that often leaders can loose focus of the “team” which may be due to so many other factors that are of no control. I have often found it easier to be a team member instead the identified leader even though others have considered me a leader. I feel one can be a leader from within the group by empowering and supporting others to voice their opinions and ideas. My beliefs are beginning to evolve to the point of realizing that great leaders should be able to make sure everyone on the team feels supported and not isolate. Leadership can be done in an effective way to inspire others.

      • Tina Nelson says:

        Hi Shontina,

        I agree that leaders must ensure that all group members feel that they are relevant and part of the process. Leaders must do what they can to prevent and identify out-group-members. Out-group-members feel that they have nothing to contribute or that other group members feel they having nothing to contribute. Effective leaders understand that every team member is of value and are a key element of the team. If their are out-group-members, the leader must draw them back in and get them involved.

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