4 Neglected Essentials of Engagement they didn’t Teach you in School

Engagement is freely given. Forced engagement is coercion or intimidation.

Four neglected essentials of engagement:

#1. Model the way.

Pull with others, if you expect them to pull with you.

Practice engagement if you expect engagement. Disengaged leaders produce disengaged organizations. Never make exceptions for yourself. Define the extra mile and go there.

Self-leadership precedes leading others. Expect more from yourself than you expect from others.

#2. Generate power.

It’s not engagement if you control all the options.

Engagement requires power. People feel powerful when they make choices.  

Four simple steps to give power to others:

  1. Identify and agree on the goal.
  2. Ask, “How might we move toward the goal?”
  3. After they provide an option, ask, “And what else?” Generate three or four options.
  4. Ask, “Which options would you like to choose?”

People feel powerful when they make choices.

#3. Challenge – don’t coddle.

When you coddle someone you imply they are incompetent. Respect talent. Don’t pamper it.

Coddling is a subtle form of arrogance that rejects the competence of others.

#4. Agree with negative self-assessments.

People may expect you to comfort them when they complain that they’re incompetent. Treat them like full grown adults instead. Don’t tell them it’s not that bad. Avoid the tendency to bolster their ego.

When someone says they aren’t good at something, take them seriously. Agree with them. Avoid the temptation to minimize their concerns.

Engagement is a form of responsibility. You short-circuit engagement when you help people shirk responsibility.

When someone says they aren’t good at something, it may be an attempt to lower expectations. If they aren’t competent, they can’t be expected to fully engage.

The issue is what they would like to do, even if they feel insecure or incompetent.

Which of these ideas seems most important to engagement from your point of view?

How might leaders ignite engagement, even if they don’t have authority to coerce it?