We should work to enhance the relationships with every person in the team around us.
We should work to enhance the relationships with every person in the team around us. iStock

It's time to engage and reap the benefits

It may be my naivety and a life-long desire to make my way in the world independently that shapes my view of taking responsibility for my own actions, and being accountable for the outcomes of those, that has me question people when they complain that they are not engaged in their work.

When challenged on it, the response I get is usually "it's not my role to make the change” or " I just work there” and "they pay me to turn up”, with some "I don't want to rock the boat”. Now while I don't get frustrated or even make judgment - after all it's their life and decisions - I do recognise that the excuses being made about these things are just that - excuses.

What do you think lies at the heart of the issue here? Is it a lack of belief in themselves, a lack of belief in the work they are doing, a lack of belief in the business or leadership, a fear of losing security? What do you think? And what's the outcome if people aren't able to fully provide their best in the role they play at work?

The simple answer is that with a lack of engagement both the person and the business are going to suffer. Take the ubiquitous "sicky”. Wellbeing expert Terry Robson believes that sickies amount to 90million days absent every year and $34.1billion being sucked out of the economy annually.

People who are disengaged at work or who have low job satisfaction have higher rates of depression and anxiety, which in the longer term increase mental health issues.

Understanding these effects should have every business owner and manager considering what they are losing in discretionary effort and what they can do differently to build a culture of engagement in their team, business or organisation. Even if you're not a "people” person as a business owner or manager, the financial impact surely must make action on this an imperative.

To build an engaged, inclusive workplace is not rocket science, however it is challenging because it means changing perspective on our archaic and outdated approach to the workplace, workforce and work itself.

My view looking in is that we should be going to town on enhancing the relationships we have with every person in the team around us - including the manager/leader if it's not you.

The more we come to understand what others are going through, expect and need from us and desire from their role, the more opportunity we have to create the intentionally collaborative environment that people want to work in and stay in.

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: mindsaligned.com.au