Teri A. Coutu
Business & Marketing Consultant
If you read articles about employee engagement, most of them talk about what business leaders need to do in order to motivate their team to get (and keep) them engaged so they are more productive. However, engagement is something each of us need to take responsibility for if we want to live a meaningful and content life.
While there are many definitions of engagement, I see it as a positive emotional and cognitive attachment to work, people, community, and/or goals that motivates a person to do and be their best. For instance, if you feel positively “engaged” with your spouse, friends, or your kids, you will naturally want to be kind, helpful, loving, and supportive. You’re more likely to go out of your way to do things that build and solidify the relationship, and less likely to create and engage in conflicts that threaten it. The same applies to engagement at work – the more you feel like you’re part of the team, the more you will want to help make the team stronger.
Connect & Engage
Unfortunately, when we don’t feel connected, we often close off and disengage. And, these days, with all the stress and social distancing, most people are definitely not feeling connected to much of anything or anyone. If this sounds familiar, it’s important to recognize that the best person to increase your engagement at work or home is you! Here are five things you can do to increase engagement in your life:
- Know what motivates you and find or create a connection between that and your environment. Motivation is that special sauce that aligns our values with our actions. Think of it as that “thing” that makes you want to put the wheels in motion. Maybe you’re motivated by learning new things or creating harmonious surroundings. Or, perhaps being part of a team, OR leading a team sparks your energy. Once you identify your motivators, identify how you can use them to your advantage at work and home. If you’re motivated by collaboration, find ways to collaborate with your neighbors to beautify the area. If you’re motivated by taking on leadership roles, create a project where you can recruit and inspire helpers. Your personal motivators spark your engagement.
- Find your purpose or determine what you want your legacy to be. There’s a lot of talk about finding your purpose in life, but not everyone instinctively knows what their purpose is. When you do, that’s great – you’ll have the passion and motivation to be engaged and it will keep you moving forward towards your goals. But, it you are having trouble figuring out your purpose, think backwards. What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? What lasting impact do you want to leave behind? Once you have some ideas, you can start doing things that will help you create your legacy and those are likely to help build your engagement.
- Increase communication, get social, build your relationships in and out of work. Relationships give life and work meaning, and the more we build relationships, the more engaged we will be in the world around us. Talk and listen to your family, friends, and co-workers; participate in activities that require interaction; find common ground. Think of how great it would be to work with your best friend… now, make a best friend out of someone you work with!
- Make sure you’re in the right role. It’s really easy to get caught up in the humdrums of everyday life and lost sight of where we want to be. Whether at work or at home, it’s important to make sure you’re in an atmosphere that truly showcases your interests, talents, and motivation. Is this the job you really want, or is it the job you got? Does the community you’re living in feel like home, or is it just a place to live? Are the people you surround yourself with good friends, or comfortable acquaintances? You have the power to change your life at any point if you realize you’ve gotten off track. And, when you’re on track and engaged – no one can stop you!
- Inspire the engagement in others. There’s something magical about consciously deciding to inspire others – the inspiration comes back to you and fills your emotional bank account. Maybe the previous four tips seem too daunting right now – they require some serious thought. But, the one thing you can do instantly is try to help bring out the engagement in others. How, you ask? Smile. Give compliments. Tell people how much you appreciate them. Take time to truly listen. Encourage and support others’ efforts. You’ll find that the more you inspire others, the more inspiration will come to you.
Whether at work or at home, there is no one more responsible for your happiness than you. So, take some time to identify the areas where you feel engaged and where you don’t, and then do what YOU need to drive your own engagement. Life is MUCH more enjoyable when we’re actively engaged, and you deserve an enjoyable life!