I have a practice that if something comes on my radar three times, I need to pay attention and take action. As you may have noticed, I haven’t sent my blog for a few weeks. It’s a bit of a personal struggle that I won’t elaborate on, but suffice it to say, that lately I’ve realized the more I know, the more I don’t know, which leaves me feeling like a bit of a “fraud” for giving advice and suggestions when I’m struggling and questioning my own counsel. But more than three people have recently reached out to me to ask if I was still writing my blog, and I realized it was time to take action.
It’s not really a blog from me if it doesn’t involve a personal story, right?! So here goes. I was enjoying some time off and was looking for a movie to watch and Wonder Woman 1984 caught my eye. Don’t judge, I said to myself, just go with it. The beginning segment with the young Diana has a great lesson. “Sometimes you can’t see what you’re learning until you come out the other side.” Isn’t that interesting? We’re coming out of the other side of the pandemic and I wonder if we’ve paused lately to check in with ourselves. Give yourself an after action review. What have you learned this past year and a half? What has surprised you? What has been a challenge for you? What have you accomplished lately that you wouldn’t have been able to do a year ago? Take a moment to close your eyes and really answer those questions. What came up for you?
I’ve learned a lot about employee engagement and resilience this past year. The recent research that Marcus Buckingham has conducted shows that both concepts are enhanced and affected by two different things. Employee engagement is proactive. It’s a choice an employee makes, deciding when and how they will use their effort at work. Employee engagement also has a local phenomenon attached to it, meaning it is closely linked to the relationship an employee has with their direct supervisor. The strength of that relationship strongly affects employee engagement. Whereas resilience is more reactive. Our resilience is more strongly affected by senior leadership and the truth, communication and follow-through they share with us. The trust we have in senior leadership is closely linked to our resilience. Managers at the local level can contribute to their employees’ engagement by building trust and connection, while at the senior leadership level, management can contribute to the resilience of the workforce by having truthful and transparent communication and follow through.
Our engagement and resilience isn’t stagnant, it’s fluid and changing. Going back to Wonder Woman, at the beginning of the race, Antiope says to young Diana, “Greatness is not what you think. Pace yourself and watch.” We may be coming out the other side of the pandemic, but there is a lot ahead of us. Change is all around. If we give too much too soon, we’ll burn out. Pace yourself and watch. Pay attention to your people. Check in frequently. Look for new strengths that emerge, or old ones that have been dormant. Look for new routines and ways of doing things. Buckingham’s research shows that frequency of interaction and individualized attention will lead to a more engaged and resilient workforce. What does frequency of interaction look like for you? What does individualized attention look like for you? It may require more from you than you’re interested in giving and it may change over time. One thing is clear, relationships and connection to direct supervisors and leadership is important to coming out on the other side.
As always, I’m here to help.