I have just read a passage from a book which describes a great way to “be” and one I aspire too. “be in flow and live fully in the present moment. Respond and adapt to what is happening around you rather than reacting and fighting against it. Let situations speak to you, observe and learn. Always be upbeat, kind and generous. Yet hold others accountable without making them wrong.”
All posts by David
I approached the sessions with an open mind after being at a cross road; especially in my personal life where I am dealing with Parental Alienation. David helped me take back control and start to write my own life story. I started “taking action” rather than being a passenger. With all of this there was tremendous risk but David helped me realise that the risk of doing nothing was even greater. The coaching helped change my general outlook such as realising that I’m responsible for my own actions and not those of other people.
ICT Infrastructure Manager
I came to Dave because I was really stuck in a rut. I was in a job and industry I didn’t especially care for, and it’s not even as if I was making decent money, I was just treading water, wasting time, really. I felt that while the situation wasn’t great, all the alternatives I could see were worse. My outlook was extremely limited. My social life wasn’t good either; I was quite isolated and lonely. The funny thing is, I didn’t actually realise all this at the time, I just knew that I felt bad and wanted it to stop. I think that without really noticing it, being “stuck in a rut” can develop into a more serious situation, and that’s the way I felt like I was heading. Before I knew it, it might have been five years later and things might have been the same, only I would probably be feeling even worse.
Dave is friendly and energetic, but the main part of his approach seems to be to always find ways to broaden our thinking. With me, he looked for ways to help me see where I was limiting myself, where I was closing off possibilities or sticking to one path without even noticing it, and he did this by helping me to see why I was doing those things.
He helped me evaluate what I really enjoy doing, and helped me to naturally develop a much more creative, open-minded, and energetic approach. He gave me homework that I followed very closely, and in this way supported me to create concrete plans for changing my life. At it’s most basic level, the help he gives is extremely pragmatic, but when we’re stuck, we sometimes need to understand what is happening, why and yes, we need a little hand up.
The advice part worked because it was practical advice, and it helped to have a large problem broken into very small, manageable amounts, concrete deadlines by which to complete these manageable tasks, and growing confidence and enthusiasm as the actions started to pay off and things became fun. It’s the kind of thing we can all do for ourselves when we aren’t stuck in a rut, but then that’s the problem isn’t it? Some of us find it difficult to admit when we need a hand moving on.
Things are really changing. I explored much more actively, tried a good few different things, started to understand why I liked the things I liked, and did more of them. I was surprised to realise that I’m actually a very sociable person, but I’d been lonely and down for so long that I’d forgotten that it’s something that I need and can do well. Volunteering helped with that, and so my social life improved a lot as a sort of by-product, we didn’t even talk very much about that!
I found a volunteering opportunity I absolutely loved and threw myself into it. That was a start, but Dave helped me to start looking for a job in the field, and after a few months working on that, I’m very happy to say that I’m scheduled to start a new job in a few days. I’ve never been so excited about going to work before! I even still have one interview to go for a simply amazing opportunity, so hey, it might just get even better!
This process didn’t happen overnight, but it’s been hugely valuable, worthwhile and fun. In terms of the investment, I’ve successfully been able to tackle the biggest problems in my life, and I feel very positive about my current direction.
How can leaders drive engagement and make a real impact in their organisations? This is a question confronting nearly all business leaders.
Polls by Gallup found that worldwide employee engagement is startlingly low, with just 15% of workers indicating they are engaged with their work.
With so many employees not engaged with their work, what does it really take to make an impact on engagement in organisations? Here are 4 tips to help leaders drive engagement and make a real impact at work.
- Take an Interest in People
I believe Leadership is the key to engaging today’s workers. You can have the noblest commitment but without leadership you don’t have anything. In my opinion, lack of leadership is a leading cause of today’s high disengagement numbers. Leaders who don’t think about how they are influencing others often undertake patterns of behaviour that drive people away from their commitment, creating disengagement and conflict.
What kind of leadership does drive engagement? Increasingly, it’s leadership that takes an interest in the personal development of employees. Gallup recently found that 59% of Millennials and 41% of Baby Boomers are seeking opportunities to grow and develop at work. Leaders that understand this can influence their employees and inspire them to bring their best to achieving the organisation’s commitment.
- Make Connections to Bigger Commitment
People may not always realise it, but their future is happening now. The future you envision is what empowers you in the present. Employees who see a future for themselves with an organisation where they can make a difference and express their talents are more empowered in their day-to-day activities. When people feel connected to their organisation’s commitment and understand why what they do is important, they are more satisfied and productive.
That sense of connection comes from aligning organisational and individual commitment. You want people to experience their contribution and fulfillment inside the organisation. Everyone should be working toward the same overarching commitment, from the CEO to the post room.
- Give Space to Fail
One of the most crippling challenges in any organisation is fear of failure. It can lead to resistance to change and limits an organisation’s ability to generate and act on ideas, innovate and adapt. This fear can corrupt an entire culture, leading to higher levels of disengagement.
Creating space to try and possibly fail allows an organisation and its individuals to learn from their failures, which can ultimately be empowering. Failure is a necessary part of growth, an organisation needs to provide space for that and provide support for staff when they are feeling most vulnerable.
- Don’t Forget to Have Fun
In many organisations, people are encouraged to “work hard, play later,” as if the two were mutually exclusive. But a study by the University of Warwick indicates this is the wrong approach. According to the study, workers who were happy and had fun at work were actually 12% more productive than those who were not.
Fun is important due to its critical role in generating engagement, having fun is at the core of a company’s success. If you look at employee engagement, we are asking people to consistently be engaged and give those extra ounces of energy that they might have otherwise given elsewhere in their lives. Having fun, enjoying the work and the people they do it with helps to create energy and influences people to give more of themselves.
One reason fun is so important is the idea of employee choice. Studies show that employees are not choosing to stay with employers as long as they did in the past. A recent survey indicated that the average length of time an employee stays in a job is down in 2016 to 4.2 years, compared to 4.6 years in 2014. Among younger workers the decline was even starker: workers between the ages of 25 and 34 sank to 2.8 years.
If you really want to make an impact and transform your organisation, begin by taking an interest in what truly influences and motivates your people. Build stronger connections by aligning individual and organisational commitments. Most importantly, remember that people and organisations are more than the sum of past successes and failures, and that fun is a critical part of creating a more engaged organisation.
There’s a lot of gloom in the press about what looks increasingly like the re-emergence of the extreme right wing in politics, feeding, as always, on resentments within the population about the way the pie is shared. How terrifying that these resentments have had reason to grow to the point that people succumb to the temptations of deeply rooted evolutionary instincts towards xenophobia, racism, nationalism, protectionism.
The Empathy Instinct sets out that the ills sketched out above testify to an empathy deficit in society. The books explores how the lack of empathy has been at the root of most of the 20th century’s horrendous acts.
But it also sets out how we can change society and create the sort of world most people would choose to live in with a “Empathy Charter”. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to make a difference in the world.