I am always thinking about work – at random hours of the night, at weddings (terrible, I know), and as I’m “listening” to my wife. Name a place or occasion when I’m not supposed to be thinking about work, and I am. It’s my nature; my wheels are always turning. Why am I always thinking about work? Because I am motivated and engaged with my work.
I love when employees say things like, “Hey Randy, last night I was just thinking…” or “Hey Randy, an interesting thought occurred to me on my drive in to work this morning….” When I hear staff initiate conversations in this way, it is confirmation that they too are motivated and engaged with their work. They care enough that they are thinking about work in their discretionary time.
Verbal cues of engaged workers include several phrases:
• “I just had an idea.”
• “I’ve found a quicker way to complete this task.”
• “I’ve been wondering if there is a better way to do this project.”
Engaged workers can also display nonverbal cues:
• Staying late to get a job completed.
• Cleaning up when they don’t have to.
• Volunteering for additional assignments.
The key theme is that engaged employees are committed to and feel a connection to the organization. They know their work is connected to more than some external reward. A paycheck does matter, but it should be the by-product of motivation and engagement, not the source.
Engaged employees demonstrate care and dedication in their work. They are more willing to take on additional responsibilities, and they care about the organization’s success. Engaged employees use discretionary time, brainpower, and effort beyond what is expected.
This blog is an excerpt from my book, The Ordinary Leader.