(Every Friday, I am honored and delighted to turn this space over to Mr. Engagement, one of the world’s leading authorities when it comes to Engagement and its related intangibles. I hope you enjoy his contributions to the conversation. JG)
Dear Mr. Engagement:
I’m at my wits’ end. I’ve read everything there is to read about employee engagement. I’ve researched best practices and am applying them with my team. So I “get it” when it comes to engagement.
I realize that as a Director, I am expected to be more capable when dealing with this sort of subject matter and I’ve factored that in when I interact with my team’s members. But I’ve gotta be honest. I’m finding it extremely frustrating that they are so slow in catching on.
It’s not easy being the smartest one in the room all the time. Do you have any suggestions for me that could help in dealing with this burden?
Phil Linz, Director of Employee Relations, Amalgamated Widgets, Inc.
Dear Mr. Linz,
Let’s look at the bright side. Getting to your wits’ end must have been a short journey, leaving you ample time to consider what you are about to read.
One of the things that Mr. Engagement has become more and more convinced of as the years have gone by is that the surest way to kill off employees’ engagement levels is to ooze the kind of smarmy, self-satisfied arrogance you demonstrate in your letter.
Hear me well: The only way—the only way—that you should think of yourself as being above the people who report to you is when you’re talking about the boxes and sticks of an organizational chart. Other than that, they are at least—that’s at least!—your equals, and you would be well advised to deal with them in that way.
I realize that this may be a lot to absorb. Perhaps we should arrange to meet face-to-face some time soon. If nothing else, it will give you the experience of not being the smartest one in the room.
Yours in Othership,