With so much emphasis on employee engagement programs, there is very little emphasis on the root cause of employee dis-engagement. Despite the overwhelming research on the negative effects of employee dis-engagement, very little is actually being done to move the needle. No amount of money or attention on employee reward programs, wellness efforts, or engagement programming will make a difference if we don’t address the underlying issue.
Tevis Trower helps organizations optimize their most precious assets: humans. As a “corporate mindfulness guru” she has served clients in over 70 markets, clients include HBR, YPO, PWC, KKR, Soros, Bloomberg, Viacom, Google and AOL/HuffPo on mindfulness, executive lifestyle, mastery, innovation, and sustainable success. She’s a forever beginner guitarist, snowboarder and surfer.
Tevis and I talk about the power of the beginner mindset, the root causes of employee dis-engagement, how to gain perspective on your own behaviors that could be contributing to a poor culture, and the challenges of trying to change the leadership above you.
Read the related blog article: Why Isn’t Your Employee Engagement Program Working?
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- When you have high expectations of yourself and you’re in the beginning or early stages of your skill development, it can be hard not to judge yourself. Instead, especially in areas that are for fun (e.g. hobbies) and you won’t ever be an expert, give yourself permission to be an “always beginner.”
- An “always beginner” has the mindset that I’m learning exactly what I should be, I’m as far along as I should be, and I’m enjoying this moment for what it is without the pressure of seeing it as a only a step to some desired future.
- It’s challenging to live the values we preach inside our organizations. Just knowing them and believing in them is not enough.
- As individuals, we’re not good at examining our own behaviors and how they are disconnected from the values we promote (e.g. respect, teamwork, appreciation for the whole self, etc)
- People get on board conceptually, but until there is a leader who is willing to do the work on themselves, and provide the resources for others to do that deep behavior-change work, the values won’t come to life.
- Beware of hiring a C-suite level role to ‘deal with’ the culture problems. These challenges below to the entire C-suite and shouldn’t be designated to one person.
- Ask people for feedback – directly or anonymously – on your behaviors to help build self awareness.
- Do an inventory of your life over the past 1-5 years of all the things that have gone wrong and all the worst interactions you’ve had at work. Look at each of them as if it was a movie: look for how your actions or choices contributed to the issue or interaction. What themes emerge?
- Hire an external person that you are paying for in a formal relationship to be your source of truth and wisdom because we can never fully see ourselves honestly. That formality forces you to take it seriously, show up, and know they’re doing their job to the best of their ability.
- When you do this for yourself, it will trickle down to the people on your team, but likely won’t trickle upward. To manage up, it often takes an external consultant to work with leadership. Too often, we avoid speaking hard truths to those above us in order to protect ourselves, but change cant happen if we’re all functioning from a place of fear.
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