Engage Yourself

On a recent episode of Glee, Sue Sylvester, the over-the-top mean cheerleading coach, couldn’t find anyone who measured up to her standards as a potential mate.  When she logged onto an online dating site, the only match was . . .herself.  So she got engaged . . .to herself.  A ridiculous wedding dress/track suit combo and a cameo by Carol Burnett as her mother ensued.

Silly?  Why, of course.

And yet:  Are you waiting for someone to engage you when you could just as well engage yourself?  I’m talking about at work.  Sure, leaders are responsible for creating the conditions for engagement:  clear goals, opportunity to be a member of a high-performing team, communication, feedback, ongoing direction.  And I’m not sure that that whole “crisis of engagement” we hear about (everything from the money lost because employees aren’t focused on the goals, to turnover, to the Jet Blue attendant taking the slide out of the plane) can be blamed entirely on leaders.  To quote my grandmother:  “Bored people are boring.”  To quote my version:  “Disengaged people are disengaging.”

People in formal leadership roles have a moral responsibility to create fertile ground for your seeds of engagement to soar.  But you have the moral responsibility to plant the seeds.

Use the gifts of self-awareness, conscience, and independent will to ensure you are contributing meaningfully during all those hours you invest working.  Stop waiting for Mr./Ms. Perfect boss . . .engage yourself!

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