Engaging Employees Means Sparking Passion

Alex Pollock

One of the greatest leadership challenges we face continues to be the unlocking of human potential in our workplaces. For the last decade I’ve read Gallup and Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson)  workplace surveys, which uncover data like “only 38 percent of employees believe senior management is sincerely interested in employee well-being” ; “only one in five employees is truly engaged, heart and soul, in their work”; and “nearly 38 percent of employees are mostly and entirely disengaged at work”.

What would an organization look like where passion abounds?

In his latest book, “What matters now” Gary Hamel  suggests we can learn from some things from Web culture, which is a “testament to the power of intrinsic rewards”. The Web compounds our passions, he believes, because online…

  •  No one can kill a good idea
  • Everyone can pitch in
  • Anyone can lead
  • No one can dictate
  • You get to choose your cause
  • You can easily build upon what others have done
  • You don’t have to put up with bullies and tyrants
  • Agitators don’t get marginalized
  • Excellence usually wins
  • Passion killing policies get reversed
  • Great contributions get recognized and celebrated

“Organizations will never be fully capable until they are fully human”, proclaims Hamel.

What are ways that we can magnify rather than shrink human passion in the workplace? What are those attributes that you feel are essential to keep us “engaged” at work? What are our responsibilities and the responsibilities of  those in leadership roles to embed these traits in workplace culture?

If we want to change the workplace survey results we must all be the change we wish to see.

About Alex Pollock

Alex Pollock has been studying leadership effectiveness for more than 30 years. A former leader in environment, health and safety, and public affairs at The Dow Chemical Co., he learned that we all have leadership roles to play. He enjoys discussing new ideas and sharing practical ways we can all become better leaders.

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  1. William D'Alessandro

    April 29, 2012

    Web culture is largely opinion-based rather than fact-based. It encourages half-baked ideas and perpetrates error. It hides conflicts of interest. This is especially true — but not uniquely so — when it comes to journalism.

    Web culture proliferates bad ideas and elevates personal bias. Web culture replaces interactions among people (and employees) with one-way discourse.

    I don’t think Gary Hamel has very much valuable insight to share on this.

    IMO (please add the sarcasm emoticon, thank you).

  2. If you are really want to engage people and keep the “fire in their belly” you do everything as an orginazation to discover way’s to do. Gary Hamel demonstrates for me that even in this changing “social/ technological” environment we can use web and other social media to spot inspiration to drive passion. And yes this will improve workload for management. So what if we want to get a humanized workplace a shift must take place in thinking.

  3. Alex Pollock

    May 5, 2012

    Thank you William and Jos for sharing your thoughts? Anyone else with a reaction to share?

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