If you look back at some of the best performances ever from world-class athletes, musicians, and artists – there is one common denominator: they are highly engaged. Engagement is what enables us to deliver our peak performances.
What’s the difference between being engaged VS disengaged? There is a noticeable difference in how people interact with others on an emotional level. When people are highly engaged with a task or activity, they show more empathy, creativity and have better interpersonal relationships. Engagement increases performance and productivity because it taps into our higher order skills allowing us to be more effective at work or school.
The good news is that engagement can be learned and developed if you have the right tools and know how to use them in your everyday life as well as your work life.
What are the main strategies that can help you become more engaged?
1. You need to set goals and develop a plan or strategy to achieve them
Goals provide clarity for where you’re going in life, which in turn helps create enthusiasm for your work and personal life. Goals give you direction and can be highly motivating when you focus on achieving them. Studies have shown that people who don’t have goals or set themselves up for failure by not having goals, tend to have lower levels of engagement in their work. Other research has shown that people who have clear goals with well-defined plans are more likely to succeed at work because they’re engaged with their tasks and focused on the end result.
2. Create a level playing field
As we said earlier, engagement is most effective when you’re focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t control (e.g., the actions or reactions of others). If your direct supervisor is unsupportive or doesn’t give you the support and resources needed to do your work – that’s one thing; but if they’re actively sabotaging your efforts, that’s another matter entirely (and one where it could be better for your career to move on). It’s important for employees to set boundaries with their bosses and create a set of clear guidelines or rules about how they will expect to be treated by their supervisors.
3. Take ownership of your work
When you accept responsibility for your work and acknowledge the fact that it is your work to do well, it gives you a sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation that enhances engagement significantly. It’s important to recognize that discipline is a key ingredient for outstanding performance – not because someone else has to tell you what to do but because it’s something that comes from within.
4. Engaging with others is easier when you’re interested in the people around you
Most people in the workplace are passionate about their work and want to see others succeed. When you have a genuine interest in the people around you, it’s easier to connect and collaborate with them – this is a great way to get more engagement out of your employees.
5. To build engagement, you need to engage yourself
It goes without saying that the best thing an employer or manager can do is develop their own level of knowledge and understanding in the areas that they manage. The more that they know about what they’re managing, the better at their job they can be because it makes it easier for them to understand how what they do impacts other people and groups within their organization as well as outside of it .
6. See the positive in what’s around you
It’s a lot easier to connect with people when you’re engaged and excited about life. People who are overly cynical or negative often have trouble connecting with other people and, therefore, find it harder to get support from their colleagues and supervisors.
7. Engage yourself in your environment
This means that you need to make sure that engagements (activities) related to your work are done in an open and social manner; this is especially true if you’re working in teams or on specific projects as part of a group (e.g., brainstorming sessions where everyone shares ideas). The more that people get engaged and excited about the work that they do together, the better they’ll connect with each other and the more creative their ideas will be.
8. Engage yourself in new activities
It’s easier to connect with people when you’re passionate about what you’re doing and are enthusiastic about life in general. Studies have shown that creative individuals who are involved in highly stimulating activities are better able to make connections between their existing knowledge and skills making it much easier for them to create new ideas or insights into problems or challenges – this is especially true for problems they’ve never encountered before.
9. Give yourself a time-out from work
Taking a break from work and allowing yourself to relax, recharge and renew can enhance your engagement and productivity significantly. It’s important to have down-time in order to connect with yourself, family & friends, and have some fun. When you’re highly engaged with your work it’s easy for you to lose yourself in it. Taking a break provides perspective on what’s really important in life – which is usually not your job.
10. Take a look at the people who are most engaged around you right now (e.g., co-workers, managers etc.)
The more engaged they are in what they’re doing – the easier it is for them to connect with you. It’s a lot easier for people who are highly engaged to create connections with others (e.g., more outgoing, friendly, self-confident etc.). If you find it hard to connect with others, it could be because you’re not as engaged in what you’re doing as your peers.
11. Use the power of a shared atmosphere to enhance your level of engagement
Sharing an experience or feeling with someone else can enhance your sense of engagement or involvement in what you’re doing – this is especially true if you’re doing something that’s challenging, new (or both).
12. To increase your level of engagement at work, try to make it a “fun” place to be.
You’ll usually connect better with others and be more productive because you enjoy showing up. Creating an environment where people feel more connected with each other, feel free to be themselves (e.g., more creative, collaborative etc.) and work on projects that are interesting and challenging will enhance their level of engagement significantly.