I’m guilty of being in a meeting and having a leader share a decision about a new strategy that I had a strong reaction too, and I did not say anything. I'm not proud of it.
After the meeting I would pay attention to how the strategy shifted or changed the organization, typically my opinion on it only grew stronger, and yet, I remained silent. Finally, after some of the things I predicted occurred, I sat back smugly and thought, "I knew this was coming, I could see this from the outset."
At the root of my apathetic attitude was not being truly engaged. Engagement can be tricky because it is a topic that often brings out a person’s desire to assign blame. Don’t waste your time in this trap – just start showing up the way you want others to show up as well.
If you’re a leader, you have a unique power to begin to draw out engagement in a larger way. Often, when I adapted the attitude I did above it was because those strategies were handed down without any input from myself or my co-workers who were directly affected.
In our Fierce whitepaper, 6 Key Trends that Increase Employee Productivity and Engagement, we explore the results of a survey we conducted in which 98% of respondents believe a leader’s decision-making process should include input from the people impacted by the decision. However, 40% feel leaders and decision makers consistently fail to ask.
What does this mean for you as a leader? Ask early and mean it. Invite different opinions to the table and see what happens. If this is not common practice inside your organization, then make sure you explain to those you’re inviting that you want to truly hear their thoughts and that this is something new you are trying. Be transparent.
Do you give others the chance to engage and speak up?