I dare you to try this! Help your employees self-engage
We welcome Alan Kay back for our second series. Alan taps into the art of questions and a bit of optimism in this next installment in our Winning Employees through Engagement Series.
Engagement is a two-way street. Help people realize and own the choices they have – you don’t need to have all the answers.
I recently overheard this comment: ‘When you focus on the problem, you get no engagement. When you focus on solutions you get progress and engagement.’
One of the simple keys to employee engagement I have seen in my work is to ask better questions. Of the, literally, hundreds of employee engagement roundtables that I have conducted, close to 100% of them worked well when people are asked the following simple questions:
‘What works in this organization?’
Why? Instead of probing for the problems, most of which we already know and certainly will provide little insight, have them notice what they are doing right.
Build on each of their points with either, ‘tell me more,’ or ‘how did you manage to do that?’
When you focus on the problem, you get no engagement. When you focus on solutions you get progress and engagement.
Start with the little things – dig deep on them. Then, watch the bigger ideas and insights emerge.
Once you’ve exhausted them in this part of the conversation you can move to the next one, which is:
‘Even though, like most businesses, things can get messy, it does sound like a lot’s working around here. So, what needs to get better?’
Why? While this may sound like you are going to get in trouble with a load of complaints, you’re not. The first section will reframe the dialogue so that people want to be constructive in what ‘needs to get better.’ Notice that you’re not asking, ‘what’s wrong?’, which looks backwards. You’re asking them to look forward to things getting better.
You’ll find their former complaints are sounding more reasonable. You are now ready to ask them, ‘Suppose we made progress on some these issues, what would be happening?
Followed by, ‘What would you see management doing to help make that happen?’
Followed by, ‘What would you see yourself doing to engage in that change?’
And, ‘What would one small step forward look like?’
One of the simple keys to employee engagement I have seen in my work is to ask better questions
Why? Because staff will self-engage in the solutions.
Will this change staff engagement overnight? Possibly. Better to keep asking these questions over time and watch what happens. It’s all about fully engaging staff in the solutions they want.
Connect with Alan
Alan Kay’s clients say, ‘Alan gets people to do things!’ Practicing Solution Focus for over 15 years, he is well past Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours expert rule. His expertise is captured for all to enjoy in his provocatively titled books Fry the Monkeys, Create a Solution, and Monkey-free Meetings.
Art courtesy of basemsamir