We are taught a lot of things about success throughout our lives. We learn values from our parents. In school, we learn reading, writing, and math. In higher education, we acquire job-specific skills that (hopefully) apply to the real world.
However, the one thing we're not taught is how to keep ourselves passionate and engaged, which leads to success, with the work that we do. Entrepreneurs have an innate ability to create this for themselves--the problem is figuring out how to help those that don't and need to be taught when building a team.
Statistics support the fact that most people aren't able to take the reins of their careers. According to the Gallop's Employment Index, 71 percent of Americans are either not engaged or are actively disengaged with their work.
The fact that most people don't know how to actively manage their engagement is not surprising when you think about how our educational system is structured. School is a reactive process--you go to class and the teacher or professor gives you a pre-determined structure and assignments. You follow this, and at times, can express your creativity in your coursework, but you are still fulfilling a request. We follow this model for 12 years of primary education and then repeat it again in secondary education. It's not until pursuing an advanced degree, such as an MBA, that you are in partial control of your educational process.
The problem with this model is that we feel job satisfaction is about luck--that we are engaged when the task is interesting or fun and we are not when it isn't. We struggle to follow our passion and manage our engagement because of the reactive learning habits passed down to us.
So how can you inspire members of your team to take ownership of their engagement if they aren't naturally doing it? The key to having ongoing engagement and success requires reversing the habit of waiting to be told what to do while knowing yourself well.
Here are four lessons to pass down, to reverse this way of operating:
1. Know yourself, your talent, and your purpose. Knowing what your genius talent is and what gives you meaning in life is the starting point for being able to manage your engagement. Without this detailed knowledge of yourself, you will always have a hard time prioritizing opportunities, because we are all good at lots of things, but are genius at few.
2. Pay attention to what get's you excited and what bores you. These are key clues as to the type of work you should be doing or not doing. If something is boring, it's a sign that you are overqualified (which means you are not being highly leveraged) and that's a loss to your business and is at the root of disengagement.
3. Start a new habit of looking at your business objectives and then thinking strategically about how your talent and purpose could be used to solve problems. You may have to start thinking a quarter in advance, but think about what projects you could create based on what you're good at and what the business needs. Pitch this to your manager or team before they have the opportunity to tell you what needs to be done.
4. Start recognizing others and give positive feedback to those who are engaged and inspiring you with their work. Making a point of giving and receiving feedback is critical for creating high levels of engagement.
Start with these four actions as a way to reverse the approach to work--and how to switch on and get excited. Before you know it, you will be inspiring others around you to do the same. And who doesn't want a business environment where everyone is engaged and having fun?