Leaders, Are You Engaging Employees Foresight?
by Kate Nasser | 6 Comments »
Engaging employees is all about connecting with them where they are — to lead to a more successful place. The more you ignite their thirst to contribute right now, the stronger their engagement to create the future.
It’s worth the effort. Engaging employees yields much that the traditional “follow orders & comply” approach cannot. Employee engagement delivers hundreds of talented eyes seeing strengths and weaknesses and anticipating opportunities and threats (SWOT).
Engaging employees taps both their foresight and perspective to consider and address the total picture. This is a competitive advantage! When every employee visions the future, they work in the present to wisely create it.
Leaders, are you engaging employees’ foresight?
Or unknowingly trapping them in the present?
Engaging Employees – Foresight
Here is a simple effective way to tell.
Do you use the word foresight regularly?
- Is it mentioned at all in their job descriptions?
- Do you bring it up in meetings?
- Where do your strategies, plans, discussions, and collaborations include anticipation and forethought?
- When do you play ‘what if’ with them both for innovation and precaution?
Or do you …
- Lose patience with their innovative thinking?
- Mislabel their identification of weaknesses or threats as emotional worrying?
- Focus predominantly on current data and details?
- Tell them that foresight doesn’t exist? Last year I wrote about leaders engaging foresight and a very well known leadership management expert replied: Actually foresight doesn’t exist!
He was evidently referring to the definition of foresight as prescience — being able to foretell the future. Well unless you have employees who are or claim they are psychic, it’s doubtful most employees will interpret foresight this way.
- Narrow vision and pedantic discussions can sideline employees from thinking ahead to create success.
When employees identify threats and you respond “don’t worry” or “not to worry”, you trap them in the present with an emotional label.
- I worked for a leader once who responded this way — mostly to the women. He then grew frustrated when people stopped raising important issues.
- If the threat is already being addressed — say so: “Good insight. We are working on that one already.” Better yet, ask them the impact of the threat and how to remove it.
Sharing control — instead of patronizing to stay in control — ignites and sustains employee engagement as you show respect for the talents you hired.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Leaders, Engage Employees Through Entrepreneurial Spirit
Grateful for image by: Happy Via via Flickr Creative Commons License.
©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email email@example.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
Hi Kate! Loved your list of foresight negatives as they are perfect examples of the “don’t rock the boat” mentality some Leaders have. Great post.
Thanks Melissa. Can we actually imagine a boat that doesn’t rock? Leaders/managers who do this stifle success with artificial rigid parameters.
Always pleased to see your comments. You have that great combination of practicality and creativity.
Magic happens when we encourage our teams to think creatively with forward focus. It’s vital to slow down and take time to teach and encourage forward thinking.
Yes .. magic it is Karin. For creativity starts a pulse toward the future that a purely procedural bounded approach cannot. Thank you for adding the concept of magic here!
Hi, Kate – another interesting post.
It strikes me that managers who do not encourage employees to engage in foresight are really telling them not to think. When we think, either creatively or analytically, we engage in uncontrolled thought, which might lead who knows where. Managers, by and large, do not like this. Leaders, at least those who are effective leaders, welcome and nurture this unbridled intellectual activity.
The manager who does this indicates they do not trust the employee and are afraid of uncontrolled thinking breaking out in the workplace … the horror.
The leader who nurtures this does trust both the employee and him/herself, so they just sit back and smile at how much easier their job just became:)
I like your expansion of this with the phrase “uncontrolled thought” and how that can be opposite to management goals. Managers need to breathe for a moment knowing that the ship is not about to crash. It’s just enjoying a few waves before it docks in port.
Many thanks for your comment. Great “add” to this post.