How Authenticity Drives Work Engagement with Cathy Brown

Inside LaunchStreet business podcast innovation podcast Cathy Brown

Don’t Be a FriYaer! Celebrate Monday and the Start of a New Work Week

Do you know what’s funny? We talk about employee engagement yet no one ever says, “I feel so engaged today!” That disconnect between what we focus on and how we talk about work got me wondering how do you really engage your team? With that question in mind, I asked Cathy Brown, director of Engage For Success, to join me to talk about her perspective that engagement is a social movement, not a definition and why fitting in is killing your leadership and innovation efforts and why bringing your whole self to work should be your number one engagement priority.

 

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Key Takeaways:

[1:36] You might be surprised to learn that Cathy participates in moristunsa, an English traditional form of dance using bells, sticks, and handkerchiefs.

[3:01] There are many definitions of engagement. Listen in to find out how Cathy defines engagement.

[4:41] What does it mean to bring your whole self to work? What does that look like?

If you’re holding back from being who you really are, you cannot bring your best self to work. Tamara shares that her red ‘power suits’ were not allowing her to be who she really was.

[8:04] How are so many employees feeling disengaged? Cathy quotes that about 30 percent are engaged and really like their job. About 31 percent show up and think that work is OK. And, about 30 percent are totally disengaged, making themselves ill, unproductive, and exhibiting toxic behavior. She believes that the problem is that often we just don’t know what to do to change work engagement.

[10:15] The founders of Engage for Success, David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, performed research to find out what characteristics highly engaged, high performing teams possess. You can find the MacLeod report listing the four enablers of engagement here. First: There’s a strategic narrative that’s living and breathing. Employees know where they fit into the story. Acknowledge the history, the present, and where the employees fit into it. Second: Engaging managers do three things well. They can focus you on the task, trust you to deliver in your way, (they treat you as an individual) and they deal with things that come up quickly. Cathy shares a story that shows the power of managers learning each employee’s names.

[15:49] Third, employee voice, How do people feel about giving you their views? Is their voice welcomed? Do they feel safe? Tamara talks about the black hole that employee’s voices often disappear in. She reminds listeners that you don’t have to take every piece of advice, but do you need to explain what happened to the advice that was shared and why you aren’t taking the advice.

[17:44] Fourth: Organizational integrity. Understanding the values and behavior that are expected. There needs to be trust that the behavior that’s seen is congruent to the values that are exposed.

Cathy talks about Glassdoor and the importance of positive advocates on your staff.

[20:13] Cathy shares a personal story about her working in the IT industry. She understood her role and importance of her job. A good strategic narrative tells each employee WHY they are each there. Employees need to help form strategy and move the narrative forward. Tamara reminds listeners that it’s the front line staff that has lots of the most valuable information.

[23:08] Why does Cathy call engagement a movement?

[24:32] Cathy talks about the third of people that are disengaged with their job. It’s important to know how to go in and change the behavior into a more positive one.

[28:00] Find out the connection between the employees that are engaged and like their job and innovation. (8 enablers of innovation diagnostic map)... There’s a clear relationship to being able to be yourself and innovate. Tamara adds that you must be vulnerable to innovate.

[29:30] How does the culture of innovation contribute to engagement levels?

[30:22] Cathy took the IQE Assessment and her innovator archetype is ‘instinctual risk-taker.’ This means that she connects the dots in new and meaningful ways and is willing to go to new places. How have these skills helped her in her career? Cathy was willing to take problems to upper management and identify where she saw things that needed to be fixed. Tamara reminds listeners that often that means stepping up to places that others haven’t gone yet.

[35:11] Connect with Cathy, and join the newsletter at Engage for Success.

[35:33] Cathy challengers listeners to say thank you today. This is a super positive step that will help with engagement.

[35:57] Tamara believes that fitting in is killing innovation efforts. It’s so important to give people room to be different. She challenges listeners to take the IQE Assessment and then strive to accept and embrace each other’s unique differences.

   

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Mentioned in This Episode:

MacLeod Report

Engage for Success Homepage

IQE Assessment

 
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