Make work engaging again

5 Apr 2018 | LinkedIn article

Last week, I talked about this topic with Sarah Green Carmichael for HBR’s IdeaCast.

SGC: So, no one sets out to be the kind of manager who is – whose employees do not feel alive at work. No one sets out to be a soul-sucking manager. So, how does it happen and why do so many of us feel – you might say – dead at work instead of alive at work?

DC: I do agree with you, by the way. I don’t think that managers wake up in the morning and say, how do I squash the souls of those I lead? I think it has a lot to do with quality and consistency – due dates. It has to do with regulations. And so, a way to think about this, which is, you know, really very kind, is just to say that if you’re over-zealous about the promises that we made to customers, about dates that products and services will we completed or about meeting regulations that the government sets out, then what we do is we kind of back into, then how can we meet those promises and then we can move into, you know, control systems. And I don’t even mean that in the draconian way. I just mean key performance indices that allow us to know that we’re on track and moving toward those goals.

I think that one thing that can happen is if we forget that a big part of our brain urges us to be creative, to be curious about cause and effect, to try to learn new things and see if things don’t work a little better or try it in a new way.

SGC: I am just wondering, have you in your career or is there someone you know who has gone from feeling, you know, we might say dead at work to feeling alive at work and how did that person change?

Check out our full conversation.

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