Its nice to be wanted.
Just the other day I checked in with a candidate just placed. She was gushing. A seasoned professional with degrees and certifications she wasn't easy to land. But I knew we had the right next step for her career and ultimately we won her over.
As we were talking she mentioned to me that she'd been at a holiday party and told some friends how refreshed she felt. How needed. How wanted.
What keeps us from feeling like that more often?
Recently I wrote about the role employees must play to keep this enthusiasm stoked for work (Loving Work). But what of employers?
Here's what I've seen that keeps people feeling wanted.
- It seems obvious but the most important things always are. Have you told your people you care about them and appreciate their work? No? Then how would they know? What's true is this: as long as praise is heartfelt there is no akward way to say it. And all of us from newbie to hard-core professional love to hear the sound of two things: our name and praise. Thank people
- Growth is the key to feeling enagaged over the long term. Remember how stale your last relationship was where you didn't grow as a couple? That feeling – avoid it. How? Give people room and responsibility to take things on. Let go. They may make mistakes but they probably won't. And even if they do they'll work that much harder to correct the immediate problem and retain your confidence long-term. Give people the room to grow and they will
- People generally do rise to their level of expectations. If true why would you ever expect less of them? Believe that people can do more and they'll feel your confidence: demand that they can do more and they often will. The key here of course is to stretch people – to believe they can do more – without going to excess and overwhelming them. But most of us know when we're pushing too hard. Its ok to expect more: people like the challenge to rise to the occasion
- We love to say we have coaching environments but most of us don't. Just because we have four tires doesn't mean they're properly-inflated and rotated. Coaching is like that: easy to say and then do poorly. Yet, also pretty easy to do right if you apply yourself. Find a simple coaching model that works for you (they abound) and decide to get really good at it. In less time than you think your people will realize the benefit of working in a robust coaching environment and become more engaged
Engagement sounds so nebulous all the time, and pundits like to pretend its a mystery you can solve only through expensive interventions (sold by them) yet improvement is within your grasp today.
Engagement is a collaborative affair: take the first step to help your people feel engaged by practicing the keys reviewed here.
Its nice to be wanted.