By Vicki Hess
Happy New Year! To start out the year, I’d like you to think about the answer to this question: "Is your boss a mind reader?"
Most likely, your response is a resounding "no."
I’ve never met a real mind reader (that I know of), so I’m assuming that they are few and far between. To save you from having to try and read my mind, I’ll get right to the point. If your boss can’t read your mind, then why would you expect him or her to know what makes you feel satisfied, energized & productive (AKA engaged) at work?
I think lots of folks wish their manager would spend more time getting to know them to better understand what makes them tick. I see others who wish their boss would take charge of their engagement by fixing all the external broken things and solving all the day-to-day problems.
Here’s the news for 2017: Engagement is an inside job. You are the boss of your own engagement.
Here are a couple of ideas for how to avoid the mind-reading trap and create your own Professional Paradise right now...
1. Get really clear about what puts a skip in your step at work. What are those things that make time fly? Common responses that I hear are “getting work done”, “positive connections with coworkers” and “learning new things”. Of course your answers might be different – there are no right or wrong responses. When you know what makes you feel engaged, then you are more likely to notice it when it happens.
2. Sit down one-on-one with your supervisor and share what makes you feel satisfied, energized & productive at work. You don’t need to wait until he or she schedules the meeting – just ask for the time and share your agenda.
Sure, it would be nice if your boss initiated this conversation, but you don’t have to wait. No need to point fingers or lay blame, just professionally discuss those things that up your engagement factor. Be sure to include ways that you could more regularly connect with these things (ie, if you like learning new things – offer to be on a project team). When you are engaged at work, it benefits you, your customers and the organization as a whole so your boss should be happy you asked for this meeting.
Engagement is a shared responsibility. Sometimes managers get it right and sometimes they don’t. There’s no reason why you can’t be the catalyst for the conversation if your boss hasn’t stepped up to do it.
No fancy mind reading…just good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation!
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