The Atlas

Test drive your appetite for being a manager

This week we come to my absolute favorite of all of Gallup's 12 Elements of Employee Engagement. It's the one I think is the most important, not just for the reasons that Gallup identifies, but because I think that anyone who thinks they might want to be a manager needs to think about this one the most and ask themselves what they think and feel about it. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

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Strengths as a Recurring Theme in Business and Life

The value of driving from strengths is a recurring theme in my work -- not just from Gallup, but also in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS, as outlined in the book Traction by Gino Wickman) and in the Happiness Studies Academy (by Tal Ben-Shahar). Understanding and building on your strengths is not only an invaluable way to organize your work life, but it also a cornerstone of leading a fulfilled, whole-hearted life.

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Praise and recognition is a team project

Number four on Gallup's list of 12 Elements of Employee Engagement is the one I sometimes struggle with: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work. This one is a challenge for me for a few reasons.

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Finding meaning, even when it's not at work

After spending so much time and effort discussing finding meaning at work, I want to spend a few minutes acknowledging how much of a privilege that is and that not all of us are that lucky. After attending a community event, I am reminded that doing something meaningful is the truly important part -- but there are different ways and places to find that, if work isn't an option.

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Figuring out what you do best

The third of Gallup's 12 Elements of Employee Engagement is: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. This is often the source of a lot of generational tension in the work place. It's not uncommon that older generations (the top half of Gen X and above, in particular) were raised to believe that work was work, and that their responsibility to their family was to go, do their job, and simply be a good soldier for 40 years until retirement. A great deal of the pissing and moaning that we see between older and younger generations is often centered around this idea: things are the way they are, and you just need to quit your bitching and suck it up. At the risk of stirring up that tiresome cat fight, I call bullshit.

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It's the people, stupid

I'm gonna take a break from my series on engagement, to express my gratitude. I'm officially a week into my new apartment in Miami, getting settled into a new city, and I have a ton to be grateful for. More than anything, though, is some amazing relationships with incredible people who mean the world to me. And, the truth is, outside of my family, the vast majority of these people are friends I made at work over the years. When I get a bit evangelical (forgive the word choice) about work being a powerful vehicle for personal development, these people are invariably the reason.

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I have the materials and equipment to do my job right

Today I want to discuss the second of Gallup's Elements of Employee Engagement: Do you have the materials and equipment to do your job right? As someone who has spent her entire adult life implementing technology tools that were intended to remove friction from various processes, this one is a particularly painful topic because more often than not, the decision-makers driving the funding and implementation of systems and tools are confident that they are giving their employees something valuable, while all too often, the employees vehemently disagree.

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Transforming organizations vs. people

I had an interesting exchange with a gentlemen on LinkedIn recently, regarding my conviction about the importance of empowering managers and driving engagement. His point was not wrong at all -- but it did raise the question of why it also isn't one that is a priority for me.

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