I follow Roy Lilley’s blog (link to today’s blog here). Roy is a leading commentator on the ills and positives of the world that is the NHS. And, as I often find, his blog today really hit me and made me want to expound it here.
It was about “Somebody”. We want a change in attitude, he said – not like you are about to do the Tango – but positive stuff. Three levels – Pleasant, Caring, Engaged. Here is Roy’s description of what ‘engaged’ means to him:
“Engaged… this is really important. Engaged people say; ‘This is not right and I won’t put up with it‘. Engaged people say; ‘You know what, if we did it this way it would be better.’ Engaged people say; ‘If there is something not right I need to know, please tell me.‘ Engaged people say; ‘I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something – until I realised… I am somebody‘. That’s engaged!”
Engagement was (and still is) a key theme of many a HR conference. The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development has had myriad half, one and even two day conferences on the subject. It feels like a magic bullet that management are looking for. Do you need two days when Roy has got to the essence so quickly?
This does remind me of a new marketing manager arriving in a company I worked for. He appeared at a sales conference and 3 minutes into his first presentation said “…and I demand respect from the sales team”. You can’t, can you? Little respect was shown at that point, and he realised he may have got the tone wrong because of the quite raucous laughter, and the fact that no-one would buy him a drink in the bar.
You can’t demand engagement. You have to create the atmosphere for it to happen. You have to respect people for the jobs they do and their input and thank them and give them the tools and the resource. And you have to keep on doing that. For ever. On top of that, you need to protect your team from the crap that comes from above, from sideways and from below.
And then they will respect you, and you they. You can have a united front against ‘them’ (there is always a them…). You can fight together like you are extras in Les Miserables. And you will all love it.
Let’s just do it, so we can all live happily ever after.