I was driving back to the city this afternoon and started thinking about the roles of managers in engaged organizations. An Engaged Organization is a total systems approach to building successful companies. We, BEI define success as realizing business goals, developing an engaged workforce, with engaged manager(s) working together to produce outstanding products and services and creating shareholder value. Most of you reading this blog are in managerial roles, running your own businesses, or volunteering in organizations that are meaningful to you. People infuse organizations with a life force. Organizations exist even if there are no people to do the work. Organizations have a purpose, a network of roles and relationships, with assets such as machinery, technology, and bricks and mortar, even if there are no people to do the work. Imagining such a structure is like thinking about a play that has been written but never performed on stage. I have much to say about this invisible structure but will save that for another time.
Today I want to speak about how you as a manager can be engaged in focusing your life force and that of your workers to deliver the products or services of the organization. Most managers we talk to are quick to say how stressful their work is and how busy they are. No doubt it is almost impossible to slough off from work in today’s environment. Whether it is striving to reach a goal or downright fear of being let go, most of us are always busy at work expending energy.
But are we engaged? Engagement requires commitment, focus and caring. One way to gauge whether you are an engaged manager is to think about what we at BEI refer to as the Four A’s For Improving Effectiveness.
The Four A’s are:
- Awareness: Being conscious of your own behavior and the behavior of others, including cultural differences and stress related performance issues.
- Appreciation: This builds on awareness, an understanding of how differences can impact the workplace.
- Acceptance: Accepting a person for who they are and a situation for what it is.
- Action: Making necessary adjustments to accommodate differences, and/or improve a situation.
Managers who are engaged are conscious of what is going on among their workers, as well as inside themselves. They attend to the Four A’s so that they can personally be more effective, and work towards helping their employees work better together - individually and collectively. Understanding a situation allows a person to think of actions that may be taken to improve a situation.
I’d like all of you to do a little reflecting during the next week. Take a few moments to think about yourselves, and rate your self on a scale of 1-5 on each of these dimensions. Which of these A’s do you need help on? If you’d like, let us know and we will be able to provide some helpful hints to improve in any of these core competencies.
In the many years that I have been consulting I have yet to come across a manager who did not care deep down about their competence or how they treated their people. Many of them just didn’t have the awareness, understanding, and tools to fine-tune their own skills. BEI looks forward to providing our readers with new perspectives and helpful tools to become more engaged and effective managers.