#ShowingUp with Anese Cavanaugh

Performance Improvement: Dare to Elevate Engagement

Did you know that 21% of the global workforce considers themselves actively engaged in their work right now (loyal, passionate, positive, enjoying their work)? 38% are actively disengaged (meaning they're complaining, bringing morale down or looking for another job). And the remaining 41% aren't sure where they stand. Wow!

Does that surprise you? Surprised me, but then not too much because I've watched chaos, scheduling, technology, travel and the demand for instant results increase dramatically over the years. We are busy! We can get a hold of each other in ways now that make one dizzy. Technology in many cases is replacing face-to-face contact. Travel on Sunday for a Monday morning meeting is becoming quite the norm. So, as an executive coach, it doesn't surprise me that we are bumping up against the following performance improvement challenges.

Some of the biggest concerns reported in the 'disengaged and unsure categories' are:

  • Lack of a good work/life balance.
  • Lack of understanding of how one's work is important or how it impacts the bottom line.
  • Not being matched up with roles that evoke passion and strength.
  • Not being recognized or engaged by leaders enough.

As an effective leader in your organization, would you like to do something about that? Studies show that if you can move a 'disengaged employee' to be an 'engaged employee', you get an instant twenty percent increase in productivity. Not bad performance improvement. Seems to me that would be worth doing. How about you?

So what to do?

Here are four tips by which you, as an effective leader, can address personal sustainability, engagement and performance improvement at the same time.

Performance Improvement Tip #1: Design 'Personal Sustainability Time' into the day.

Some rules to support this tip are: schedule regular breaks for your team, schedule workouts, bring healthier choices for food into meetings, provide a 'decompression' or 'renewal room', or do whatever feels like a good next move towards work/life balance. Just taking regular ten-minute breaks every 90-120 minutes can do wonders.

Performance Improvement Tip #2: Link people's jobs to the bottom line.

Challenge your people to link their roles to the major goals, outcomes and initiatives in the company. Help them see the importance of their work in relationship to what the team and organization is accomplishing. In this busy world, it is quite easy to disconnect from the, "Why I'm doing this work and what's important about it?" Reconnect with that, and you'll be reconnected with some passion and purpose.

Performance Improvement Tip #3: Are your people matched up with the right roles that excite, invigorate and give them a place to shine?

Are your people passionate about their work? Are they in roles that best use their strengths and energy? Do you showcase their gifts and talents? If not, it's a fabulous opportunity to see where things can be rematched and leveraged. If I'm not loving my work and passionate (or aware) about my purpose then I'm not playing to my strengths. I'm probably not going to be giving it 100% and I'm definitely not going to be as engaged as I could be.

Performance Improvement Tip #4: Finally, assess how engaged your people feel with you.

Do they feel seen, acknowledged, respected and honored? Or not? Connection to human beings is not only a key element of feeling engaged, it's also key to the human spirit - we want to be connected to others. If even in a quiet way for work/life balance, connection is important.

Yes, ideally, it takes two to engage, and as many of my executive coaching clients hear me say, "The best place to make an impact is to be the first to engage."

Make it a point this month to fully engage daily with at least ten different people in your life. If even for two minutes, dare to fully engage. Notice your impact, and see what shows up.

These are all ways you can begin to engage your work/life balance in one way or another today. So pick one thing or four, whatever feels meaningful and do-able. Something that you can write down (right now) and with which you can create a tangible action plan.

You may not see the full impact immediately. But stick with it! The performance improvement will be there. Imagine the impact you can have on one person, and what impact they'll have on another, and then another.

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