The Leader Job: Igniting the BUZZ

Some time ago, during a workshop on People Engagement topic, I was asking my colleagues in the great place to work of the multinational organization I was working for at that time, what makes them leap out of the bed and look forward to get to work on an early Monday morning.

Even if nowadays we do not necessarily need to leap out of the bed and physically go to work on a Monday morning, the topic of People Engagement is more than ever high on the agenda of many leaders in organizations that moved more and more into a virtual working environment or adopted hybrid working models.

That’s why, I invite you to a short exercise of ethnomethodology in order to understand what can (still) help people staying engaged.

The map needed for entering into such exercise starts from the definition of ethnomethodology – the sociological current developed by Harold Garfinkel – whose goal is to identify those practices that allow to the members of a society to build a sense, a social order. What situates ethnomethodology apart from other research methods is the fact that the researcher is part of the studied group, living practically day by day the experience of the respective ethnic group, but still keeping the distance for remaining objective.

Although the definition might appear difficult to digest, I would say that it represents in a way, what leaders are doing every day, as part of the ethnic group called organization: being inside, by working together with the team, but also being in a way outside, able to take objective distance by assessing the team, as well as the organization needs and implementing measures that can move everybody forward.

We are aware of the challenge brought by this dichotomy, which, topped up by the virtual or hybrid working environment, provokes tremendously the leaders who are trying to keep up with all the responsibilities, while they still wish to engage their teams.

The good news is that solutions exist. That’s why, I would like to propose you to stay together for a while and, wearing this double hat of an insider – outsider at once, to look at what you, as a leader can do for keeping (remoted) people engagement and ultimately, for building sense in organization.

When you look to your people as being different, with different needs and still with the same common denominator- the wish to reach success- it might be easy to recognize that the solution of keeping them engaged is closer than you think.

I invite you to see engagement actions structured on three dimensions:

  1. Engage Yourself – Your role, as a leader, is critical in setting the tone and modeling behaviors. A self-inquiry moment can help where you are from engagement point of view, by asking yourself: What kind of leader do I want to be? Are my values matching the values of the organization I am working for? Do I find meaning in what I do? What are my strengths? Do I feel challenged enough in the job I do? Do I (still) like what I do? Do I take ME TIME? If yes, how do I recharge myself? Are my choices driven by a fixed mindset or GROWTH MINDSET?
  2. Engage Your Team. In an engaging organizational culture, the sense is built by each of the employees. This emerges when the inputs of each of the team members matters. difference. Therefore, take time and ask yourself: Do I know my team? Do they trust me? Do they have clarity around their objectives? Do they know how they can contribute to the business? Do I know their career aspirations? Do I provide opportunities for development for my team? Do we celebrate success? Do I recognize and reward achievements? Do I take enough time to connect with my people? How do I communicate with them? Do I look at my team members as people, not just as employees? Do I make them feeling that I CARE?
  3. Engage the Business. Try to look at your organization as being a funky ( Kjell Nordström, Jonas Ridderstråle) one, i.e., innovative, surprising, emotionally oriented business. Take the time and identify if you offer a funky environment to your people by asking yourself: What are the values of the organization? Are they clear to our employees? Are we, as organization, transparent enough about the vision and strategy with our employees? Do our employees trust our products? Do we offer the freedom to express their thinking, to challenge the status quo, to organize their own agenda? Do we encourage innovation? What is the culture we want to have? Do we value diversity? Are we inclusive? Do we listen to our people? If we listen, do we HEAR them?

By having the curiosity to explore what’s going on with yourself, with your team members and ultimately with the organization, you might start to feel the BUZZ: enthusiasm, interest, excitement, simply said – engagement.

And that can become CONTAGIOUS.

Elisabeta Angelescu

Career and Life Coach