Strategy #3– Increase Your Engagement
Engagement is a matter of being present – both physically and mentally. It is showing interest and taking notice not only of your job but the well-being of the company as a whole.
Every department has a function and contributes to the advancing of the company. So, how involved are you in your department and beyond? So, how often do you…
- Attend weekly/monthly update meetings?
- Attend safety discussions?
- Attend corporate performance review meetings?
- Get involved in inter-department strategy meetings?
- Attend lunch and learns by vendors wanting to provide services to your company?
- Participate in quarterly shareholders’ meetings to understand the financial status of your company?
Ultimately, leaders get involved and show interest in more than their jobs alone. You are well rounded. You understand your company’s values and philosophy of doing business.
Increase your engagement. Ask questions. Attend meetings that are open to all employees. Share your input. Offer solutions. Lean in and show your commitment to doing business well. Show you are capable of being a leader. Educate yourself on things that are most important to your company. Either you show interest or you are perceived merely as another employee or even indifferent (as I was).
Let me share my personal story. It came right out of my book Own Your Life.
I can recall being in my job for the first four years as a mechanical engineer with ExxonMobil. I was really struggling at home during those years, which spilled over to my work life. Nothing I did seemed right. I made mistakes and needed true mentorship. My perfect little world (wink) was slowly crumbling.
Note that in life, the same you shows up wherever you go. You are the same person at home, at work, at church, and so on. The same personal barriers will present themselves because you are the same person on the inside regardless of what you’re doing on the outside or portraying yourself to be.
My constantly sick babies and no family support got me labeled as one that did not want to work. My lack of liveliness due to me dealing with depression labeled me as an indifferent employee, not really caring about her career and certainly not management material. My mistakes as a young engineer labeled me as incompetent rather than inexperienced and developing. In corporate America, perception is everything.
There was a strict “don’t be upfront, jump to conclusions, and never ask questions” policy. Just kidding; that all depends on your manager. Somehow my leaders in my early career were that way. Or maybe it was the energy I was giving.
Honestly, I was afraid to speak up for myself. I really did not want anyone to know what I was battling at home. I could not afford to lose my job because finances were tight already. Also, I was afraid to ask for help because I had already been labeled as a low performer. I thought I could not let them know where my struggles lay, yet they already had some idea. In fact, I failed to understand the importance of having a mentor as a new professional in a competitive environment.
I was totally stressed and overwhelmed with my life. How had I so quickly made a mess of my life both at home and at work?
The story continues but I’ll stop it right there. The lesson here is as I mentioned earlier…perception is reality. I made the mistakes of having behaviors in the workplace that were perceived in a negative way. I want to help you do something differently.
Stay interested in your career. Look for ways to contribute in a leadership function even if you do not officially have that title. Engagement in a corporate setting means personal and business leadership. Be concerned when things don’t go right but be more concerned with providing solutions and implementing them seamlessly.
Tap into your natural instincts as a woman and dig for hidden treasure. Here are simply ways you can demonstrate your leadership skills.
- Provide training to your peers in an area you excel in
- Get involved in your workplace mentoring program (both as a mentor and mentee)
- Lead safety discussions with your workgroup. Share incidents that happen off-the-job with the group.
- Initiate brainstorming meetings when you cannot resolve an issue by yourself
Your level of engagement will dictate the level of engagement your manager has in helping you advance your career. Your BIG wins = BIG wins for your manager. The magnitude of this is great. Do you see it? Well, let me break it down.
BIG wins for you = BIG wins for your manager
BIG wins for your manager = BIG wins for the department
BIG wins for the department = BIG wins for the company
Increase your engagement and position yourself as a leader in your organization!
Your homework today is to review both checklists I provide in this lesson and measure your level of engagement. If you need to increase your engagement, choose one or two items and begin there. As it becomes more natural to you and you want to contribute more, add another activity. As you increase your engagement, expect again that your manager will take notice.
Well, this wraps up strategy #3. Let’s get to work with increasing our engagement. Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll talk to you soon. Strategy #4 is coming soon.
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