Work Engagements Can’t Be Mutually Meaningful Without This, Ep #65
8 min

“The obscure we see eventually, the completely obvious, it seems takes longer.” ~ Edward R. Murrow. 

 Edward R. Murrow was a broadcast journalist and war correspondent who gained prominence during World War II. His statement points out something we all know, the obvious things don’t always get our attention right away. It happens to all of us.

It even happens at work. We're busy, we're preoccupied, and mistakes are made. Sometimes we are lucky to have someone witness our fumbled actions or statements and we can get a good laugh from it. Other times it bites us squarely on the ass. One of the things which may seem obvious to you once you hear it is how to create meaningful connection with those you lead in the workplace.

That’s the topic of this episode.

Before you can create a mutually meaningful work engagement, you must do this

Again, it sounds obvious but before you can engage in a mutually meaningful relationship with a team member, you have to understand what would make that connection meaningful for them. For people to willingly share with you what makes a work engagement meaningful for them, there first must be trust. Many of you already have that level of trust with your employees, but what about the new person? How do you develop a higher sense of trust with them straight out of the gate? In this episode I give you a number of quick tips on how to it, so be sure you listen all the way through.

To build trust with your team, learn to say, “I don’t know.”

During your first conversations with a new employee, there will likely be something they ask to which you are reasonably sure of the answer. But resist the temptation to feel that you have to give a definite answer. Say, “I don't know,” if you must, and follow it up with, “but I will find out and get you the answer by X time.” 

Why is this important? Because conveying that you are reasonably sure puts the trust factor at risk. To them, “reasonably sure” might be perceived as the real deal and you’re then on the hook if it turns out not to be the case. 

Leaders must learn how to appropriately ask personal questions of their team members

I always get hate mail with this one, but nevertheless, I stand by my experience. I’ve discovered that it is important for the employee to know that as a leader, you're interested in their success and development as more than just an employee. The way to do that is to ask questions about things not related to work. This too is rather obvious, but not everyone agrees. You can ask about their non-work goals and objectives and how you can help them attain those. 

I’ll write more on this at a later date, but leaders these days feel like they walk a tightrope when it comes to determining what they can and cannot ask their employees about their lives outside of work. I suggest you use common sense, be compassionate, and you'll be just fine.

Do your team members understand your plan for their development?

It’s important that every employee knows that you are intentional about your role in helping them develop and grow. Show them a general 10,000-foot plan for how they will be developed, challenged, and grow. It’s a matter of giving them evidence that you are invested in their growth and that it will bring mutual rewards for them and the organization. Use this time to also show them the high-level plan of the organization. They will appreciate being in the loop.

If you are a top decision-maker experiencing challenges relating to this topic or any developmental topic, then give me a call and I will give you 20 minutes to confidentially discuss your situation and help you come up with a path to move you forward. My phone number is (715) 661-0364.

Outline of This Episode
  • [0:45] The painful truth of the obvious things missing our notice
  • [1:58] What makes a mutually meaningful work engagement meaningful?
  • [6:23] The obvious need for trust in work engagements and what it takes to foster it
Resources & People Mentioned
  • Call Bruce to discuss your situation - 715-661-0364
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