9 Traits Of Every Mutually Meaningful Work Engagement, Ep #13
6 min

This episode about mutually meaningful work engagements was spawned by a handful of listener questions that revealed to me that I need to lay some groundwork in order for listeners to understand where we are going with this podcast. My hope is that in this short recording I am able to bring greater clarity to the term “mutually meaningful work engagements” so that leaders and teams are able to create them together.

What are mutually meaningful work engagements?

Mutually meaningful work engagements are environments where the individual develops and the organization grows at near equal paces - and where one is not accomplished at the expense of the other. That’s the “mutual” part and it’s vital that it happens that way. One of the surest ways to get there is to view development as an exponent - a super-multiplier of sorts that impacts the potential of BOTH the individual and the organization.

Leaders are the ones who can best make it happen, for two reasons. They are the carriers of the culture of the organization and they are the interface between the organization and the individual. That makes them the perfect ones to foster a cultural environment that makes growth possible.

Why is the topic of mutually meaningful work engagements so important?

I hope it’s obvious, but in case it's not - give this some thought: Since we spend nearly ⅓ of our lives at work, doesn't it follow that we should want to have good work experiences? But even that falls short. We shouldn’t be settling for good. We should be expecting and creating more from our engagements at work.

In my view, we’ve all settled too much, for too long. Beer parties and fish tanks in the employee lounge don’t make for meaningful work engagements.

If we don’t do the work it takes to engage in mutually meaningful work engagements we are missing a tremendous opportunity to make life more synchronous. What I mean is this: we can create a culture where both our professional and personal pursuits can serve as catalysts for each other rather than being caustic to each other. We all have that power - the power to improve the communities we live and work in. And just as important, we all have the power to make something more for those who follow us.

And keep in mind, we are all capable of being even better tomorrow than we were yesterday. We should always be invigorated and motivated by that. A focus on development, both personal and professional enables us to maximize that potential throughout an organization.

What does a mutually meaningful work engagement look like?

I’ll be the first to admit that mutually meaningful work engagements are going to look different for me than they do for you. In fact, every person will have their own version. But to get us started in the right direction, let’s define what mutually meaningful work engagements are NOT…

  • It is not crossing lines and barging into the personal lives of the people in your organization.
  • It also doesn’t mean that anyone is expected to make their personal life an open book to others.

So what DOES it look like?

The mutually meaningful work engagement is an environment where…
  1. People are fostered and helped with achieving their personal as well as their professional goals and pursuits. And should a person in the organization not know what their personal goals and pursuit are, then they are helped to create them.
  2. People are encouraged to know who they are, be that person, develop that person, and pass it on to those around them.
  3. Mistakes, slip ups, fubars, and undesirable situations arising from a lack of knowledge are immediately turned into positive learning moments.
  4. People never become collateral damage as a result of an organizational pursuit.
  5. The organization constantly promotes an innovative thought process among all its people and experiments with their ideas.
  6. The organization stops struggling with employee turnover.
  7. The organization keeps and benefits from the knowledge of its people.
  8. The organization fosters positive disruption and uses creative methods to ensure its organization-wide acceptance and use.
  9. It is an environment that teaches others to teach.

This is just a partial list. As you listen to previous episodes of this podcast you will quickly be exposed to some of the elements of mutually meaningful work engagements. And as you continue to listen to more episodes in the future, you will be exposed to even more.

Do you have questions about leadership and organizational health?

I love fielding questions from listeners. If you have questions about what was covered in this or any other episodes, please contact me on LinkedIn, other social media platforms, or through our website. I would love to hear from you.  

Connect With Bruce

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