Energize your workforce: 10 ways leaders can take employees “beyond engagement
Today’s employees—even those who may be engaged—are exhausted. Depleted of passion, resilience, verve and excitement, they are devoid of the personal energy that compels them to consistently go above and beyond the call of duty.
To create a sustainable, innovative and high-performing organizational culture, businesses need to focus on both engagement and energy—essentially, moving “beyond engagement” as we know it today.
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Brain science provides us with an understanding of how to get there. Here are 10 ways for leaders to change the way they approach engagement—and put energy first.
1. Manage energy, not engagement
When we are low on energy, we lose our ability to focus, regulate emotions, make decisions and take action. By managing energy instead of engagement, leaders protect employees’ executive function. This can unlock energy that fuels enthusiasm and innovation—generating sustainable engagement.
2. Deliver experiences, not promises
When elaborate recognition/reward programs and intricate performance management systems don’t deliver on leaders’ promises, this creates workplace cynicism workplace—leading employees to see employee engagement as a con game. But by delivering on experiences, leaders can create a happy, productive, frequently energized employee base.
3. Target emotion, not logic
We live and work in a “Feelings Economy,” where feelings—not intellect—drive employee behavior. In fact, research shows that emotional engagement trumps rational engagement by a multiple of four! Understanding what matters most to employees—and then acting upon that information—is an effective way to show compassion and support.
4. Trust conversations, not surveys
Annual engagement survey results only provide a small glimpse of a very large picture. To really understand and energize employees, leaders must shift to frequent, face-to-face, meaningful conversations with employees. Why? Quality conversation releases all kinds of high-performance hormones in our brains.
5. Seek tension, not harmony
The brain’s natural response to tension is to interpret it as a threat. However, we are actually energized by tension. Many opportunities for innovative breakthroughs exist between the current and desired way of doing things. The trick is for leaders to learn to stand amid that tension—not to avoid it—and effectively manage competing priorities.
6. Practice partnering, not parenting
The brain perceives “shared responsibility” as a risk. Therefore, leaders may resort to parental-like behaviors—which, consequently, introduces negativity into the workplace. By shifting to a “partnering” managerial style, leaders and employees can work together to create powerful solutions that both parties are willing to adopt and implement.
7. Pull out the backstory, not the action plan
Too often, organizations take engagement survey results at face value and create “one-size-only” action plans. This practically guarantees employee resistance to any engagement initiative. Leaders who use converse frequently with their employees can draw out the backstory behind engagement scores—and co-create conditions that generate meaningful, sustainable energy.
8. Think sticks, not carrots
Leaders often gravitate to offering “carrots” like recognition programs, cheerleading and inspiration. However, they should be “thinking sticks”—that is, identifying and addressing psychological forms of workplace interference like bullying and conflict. In doing so, managers can produce environments where employees can be their best selves—able to access their knowledge, experience, skills and strengths at a moment’s notice.
9. Meet needs, not scores
When employees’ individual needs go unmet, they may act out in unskillful ways such as forming cliques and gossiping—permeating the organization with interference, which affects people’s ability to leverage their executive function. By focusing on individual needs instead annual survey scores, leaders can inspire employees and sustain workplace energy.
10. Challenge beliefs, not emotions
According to brain science, it is not our capability but our belief in our capability that affects how effective we are. Leaders who engage in meaningful conversation with employees to identify and address negative beliefs (such as self-doubt) can create a much greater sense of agency in their people.
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Brady Wilson is co-founder of Juice Inc., a corporate training company that services organizations from Toronto to Los Angeles. Also a speaker, trainer and author, Brady recently released his latest book, Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need. Follow Brady on Twitter (@BradyJuiceInc) or visit his website, www.bradywilson.com.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”