Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: NICK BEN­NETT

It may be my naivety and a life-long de­sire to make my way in the world in­de­pen­dently that shapes my view of tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for my own ac­tions, which has me ques­tion peo­ple when they com­plain that they are not en­gaged in their work.

When chal­lenged on it, the re­sponse I get is usu­ally “it’s not my role to make the change” or “I just work there” and “they pay me to turn up”, with some “I don’t want to rock the boat”. Now while I don’t get frus­trated or even make judg­ment – af­ter all it’s their life and de­ci­sions – I do recog­nise that the ex­cuses be­ing made about these things are just that – ex­cuses.

What do you think lies at the heart of the is­sue here? Is it a lack of be­lief in them­selves, a lack of be­lief in the work they are do­ing, a lack of be­lief in the busi­ness or lead­er­ship, a fear of los­ing se­cu­rity? What do you think? And what’s the out­come if peo­ple aren’t able to fully pro­vide their best in the role they play at work?

The sim­ple an­swer is that with a lack of en­gage­ment both the per­son and the busi­ness are go­ing to suf­fer. Take the ubiq­ui­tous “sicky”. Well­be­ing ex­pert Terry Rob­son be­lieves that sick­ies amount to 90 mil­lion days ab­sent ev­ery year and

$34.1 bil­lion be­ing sucked out of the econ­omy an­nu­ally.

Peo­ple who are dis­en­gaged at work or who have low job sat­is­fac­tion have higher rates of de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, which in the longer term in­creases men­tal health is­sues.

Un­der­stand­ing these ef­fects should have ev­ery busi­ness owner and man­ager con­sid­er­ing what they are los­ing in dis­cre­tionary ef­fort and what they can do dif­fer­ently to build a cul­ture of en­gage­ment in their team, busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion. Even if you’re not a “peo­ple” per­son as a busi­ness owner or man­ager, the fi­nan­cial im­pact surely must make ac­tion on this an im­per­a­tive.

To build an en­gaged, in­clu­sive work­place is not rocket sci­ence, how­ever it is chal­leng­ing be­cause it means chang­ing per­spec­tive on our ar­chaic and out­dated ap­proach to the work­place, work­force and work it­self.

My view look­ing in is that we should be go­ing to town on en­hanc­ing the re­la­tion­ships we have with ev­ery per­son in the team around us – in­clud­ing the man­ager/leader if it’s not you.

The more we come to un­der­stand what oth­ers are go­ing through, ex­pect and need from us and de­sire from their role, the more op­por­tu­nity we have to cre­ate the in­ten­tion­ally col­lab­o­ra­tive en­vi­ron­ment that peo­ple want to work and stay in.

Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: mind­

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