Increasing Active Engagement Through Self-Responsibility
By: Roma G Velasco and Catherine Saar
Finding meaning and purpose in the things that you do daily can be difficult, especially if you are not sure where to look and how to find them! And yet, self-determination theory, first elaborated in the 1970s and popularized by authors like Daniel Pink (Drive), Chip & Dan Heath (Switch), Angela Duckworth (Grit), and Marshall Goldsmith (Triggers) tells us that people who take more ownership for their own experience, persist in their endeavors with greater resilience, and generate better outcomes for themselves and their organizations. This requires that they have a say in how work gets done, and that they see the relationship between their contribution and something larger than themselves.
No one can give us ownership of our situation. Engagement is an inside job. Discovering our own purpose and meaning, rather than waiting for direction from others, allows us to live more fully into our power and take control of our lives and how we feel at home and at work.
Leaders may also struggle with inspiring engagement in their teams, so what to do? How can leaders help team members find their motivation for growth and contribution?
Marshall Goldsmith, leadership author and executive coach offers a blueprint. Goldsmith identified six questions that successful people ask themselves every day. These can be a starting point for you personally, or for you to share with your team when engagement is at issue:
Did I do my best to set clear goals?
Did I do my best to make progress towards goal achievement?
Did I do my best to be happy?
Did I do my best to find meaning?
Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
Did I do my best to be fully engaged?
These self-directed questions bring responsibility and power back to the individual. When it comes to finding meaning, satisfaction, and success in the work that we do, looking internally for answers has been shown to be more powerful and sustainable than searching externally for answers that others cannot truly give us.
“What employees really should be asking is, what can they do to engage themselves – not what their companies can do to engage them.” – Marshall Goldsmith
How do you remain actively engaged at work and in your personal life? We would love to hear your thoughts!