An Introduction to the Beyond Engagement Philosophy
1. Engineer Experiences
Our brains pursue activities that promise reward regardless of whether the reward is delivered. Engagement activities that promise much but deliver little corrode the employee experience. As you engineer and deliver experiences (not just promises) to employees, you have the chance to create a powerful legacy: employees who say, “Those were the best years of my life.”
2. Embrace Tension
Although the brain requires tension to do its best thinking, it perceives it as a threat to be avoided. Leaders typically try to avoid tension by overpowering it, giving in to it, or smoothing it over. But all of these responses forfeit the energy and innovations that exist within tension. Emotional experiences are not difficult to locate. They reside within tension – the gap between what employees believe is possible and their experience of their current reality. Your job is to unlock the power of these poignant experiences by stepping into the tension and harmonizing competing needs.
3. Release Energy
Brain science shows that when we’re low on energy, the first thing we lose is our executive function and, with it, the power tools of prioritization, planning, decision-making, self-regulation, and intuition. By releasing energy, you safeguard people’s executive function. You unlock the fuel that drives passion, innovation, and enthusiasm that generate true and sustainable engagement.
4. Partner, Don’t Parent
Our emotional brain perceives shared responsibility as a threat and triggers us to become under- or over-responsible. Leaders usually try to resolve the tension with a parenting approach, overpowering employee concerns or accommodating them. As you shift from parenting to partnering, however, you co-author powerful solutions that employees are willing to adopt and implement. This lifts your burden and gives you back the time and mind-space you need to drive the business.
5. Connect on What Matters Most
Managing energy in human-to-human relations can be mapped inside the brain. Energy is generated electrochemically as high-performance hormones are released through quality conversations. And those conversations are most powerful when they deal with emotional experiences, not rational ones. In fact, research by the Corporate Leadership Council shows that tapping into emotional engagement allows employees to offer you 400 percent more of their discretionary effort.