I MEET quite a number of people who come to me to either seek employment or to ask if I can help them find a job. At that start point wanting something from me, their enthusiasm is usually exemplary. Most will speak with passion and go to great lengths to explain why I should hire or recommend them.
However, these very same people can, after 2 or 3 months in employment, become the most disengaged people at work.
Sometimes, I personally have to guard against making a judgment even before I actually give a potential hire time to prove themselves. Perhaps I have been so disappointed in the past, or I’m just jaded with people who falsely advertise and “sell” themselves in a desperate bid to get a job, before reverting to true form in time.
I have written extensively about being passionate at work. And regularly, I am invited to speak about how to get employees engaged at work.
Arguably the biggest malaise that most employers bemoan is that their staff are disengaged. Many managers I train or coach will often tell me that their biggest need is to have “engaged” team members.
How do you get passionately engaged at work? How do you go from actively seeking a job and promoting yourself in a job interview, to sustaining that enthusiasm you put forward to the interviewer?
I want to start by describing how a disengaged employee behaves. And, this is from personal experience.
They complain a lot; they are experts at making excuses; rarely help their colleagues; get easily distracted; and are lackadaisical.
I have, or have had managers, supervisors, and employees who have specialised in the plethora of “ailments” I list above.
Conversely, I have employed and currently work with people who have exhibited tremendous ownership; have always been available to help their co-workers; are completely concentrated; and are diligent.
The difference between these two types is that people who are engaged, successfully combine a purposeful existence with an unwavering enthusiasm to achieve their objectives.
What do you believe in, and what do you really value?
Once you get connected to purpose, you will be enthused about your work!
There seems to be a big problem in today’s workforce. Almost no one is passionate about what they do.
In 2014, Deloitte released a comprehensive report that found 88% of employees don’t have passion for their work, and so they don’t contribute their full potential.
The report defines passionate workers as those who are committed to continually achieving higher levels of performance, and who have the personal determination as well as a desire for learning, and improvement.
In the modern-day business environment, companies need passionate workers like this, because they will drive sustained performance improvements.
The most successful companies have passionate workers who are consistently working on large goals, and are able to think beyond the ordinary.
As leaders, you have to remember that when you are trying to reach new heights with your team, you need everyone to be able to handle stress, and develop a growth mindset.
But many companies aren’t creating the type of environments where passionate workers can thrive. Often organisations are more interested on focusing on established processes or policies. This in turn means that employees are not being able to explore, or try new things.
Processes and policies are designed to minimise risk and aim to stop variances from standard operating procedures. But this rigidity can discourage. passion.
If you want passionate employees, please allow for calculated risk taking.
Now what about employees? How do you become engaged? Remember that you only get enthusiastic when you have an interest in what you do, and a sense of eagerness to achieve what you perceive is of personal value to you.
What I see when I meet a passionate person, is someone with great strength, persistence, and focused energy. When you have this, success ensues, because you are fueled by your own enthusiasm, even when you hit the sticky patches in life. Being enthusiastic helps you become passionate at work.
Next, be positive. It’s such a cliché, but, don’t knock it.
By the way, I am not referring to you being mindlessly optimistic. Being positive is as much an active choice, as it is a state of mind. Train your mind to recognise that even when things look dire, you can find learning lessons and silver linings.
Finally, you need to be proactive, to be engaged and passionate.
The opposite of being proactive is being reactive. Proactive people train themselves to take full responsibility for their life. Reactive people often get affected by their physical environment.
When you become proactive, you will be an “initiator” of things.
So, remember that you will become engaged and passionate at work only when you learn to be enthusiastic, allow positivism to reign in your life, and become proactive.
Ask yourself: are you engaged and passionate at work?
Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times