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Replace Engagement with Excitement

Are you looking for a fresh way to talk about the worn out notion of engagement — the term everyone talks about in the federal government, but can’t do a thing about?

Author, trainer and speaker Kevin Eikenberry may be on to something. He claims we should stop searching for engagement and start looking for excitement.

Here are his five suggestions:

It’s Their Choice
Managers should spend less time trying to fix their employees and more time helping workers get excited about their work.

Kathie Sorenson from the Coffman Organization claims leaders should stop trying to put in what was left out of their employees and start drawing out what was left in.

It’s About Why
As Millennials remind us, it not just what to do and how to do it, but why do I do what I do.

It is not about doing our work to earn a reward or avoid a punishment but it is about doing our work because we find it personally rewarding.

We contribute not because we are told to contribute, but because we care.

Why = Meaning
Once employees find the why, then meaning is just right around the corner.

Can we feds be unshackled from the transactional programs, policies and procedures so we can find meaning in our work?

We should take a page out of IKEA play book. We take more ownership in something we know that we have created. The more time and energy we put into a project, the more identity and meaning we have with the experience and its outcomes.

Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels frames this formula through three variables:

• Job = Money.
• Career = Recognition.
• Calling = Purpose.

According to Conley, if we see our work more as a calling, like a minister is called to the ministry, our labors take on less of task orientation and more of purpose orientation.

Focus on Self-Discovery
Motivational guru Dan Pink talks about this condition as autonomy — the desire to direct our work lives by not having our manager stand over us each day micromanaging us.

Brady Wilson suggests that an employee with a micro-managing supervisor will never find self-discovery and will view their leader as a suffocating parent rather than a mutual partner.

Let’s give excitement a chance. What do we have to lose–our engagement?

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