What does it mean to you to be fully engaged? We hear the terms engaged and engagement so often these days. This can refer to employee engagement in an organizational context, student engagement and participation in learning, and more generally, being fully engaged in the moment. When I was doing research for my paper on coaching for engagement, it was specifically in reference to employee engagement. What I have since realized however, is that it almost doesn’t matter what the environment or context is. One on one, group setting, work, school, family or play, being fully engaged allows us an opportunity to be fully present and to be contributing at a very deep level creating meaningful experiences. Whether you are thinking, speaking, listening or doing something, being fully engaged makes us feel alive. Even more, being fully engaged can make the other party we are with, feel valued.
One question this poses is, who do you believe is responsible for your level of engagement? With the theory of Rotter’s (1954) locus of control, we know that people with an internal locus of control believe that their actions strongly influence their outcomes and external forces are not a major factor. Whereas, people with an external locus of control believe that outside forces influence their outcomes for example; fate or other people. If this is the case, who is responsible for your engagement? You or the people you are working with or for or learning with and from? Interesting question worth exploring.
Playing devils advocate I can see that an internal might believe they are 100% responsible for their own engagement and if so, what might be some of the actions an internal would take to ensure full engagement? What might be some of the ways that even an internal can make appropriate use of external influences? What might be some ways in which engagement can be further enhanced through external resources? For example, is receiving challenging work assignments or school projects under your control? How can you make it so? Perhaps by demonstrating to others that you are capable of doing more and then simply asking for it?
For someone with an external locus of control, what might be some ways to look at internal influences for a change? What questions might you ask yourself or actions might you take which would demonstrate your own personal level of responsibility in the outcome? Just suppose that even though you believe in fate, you were to believe that you were master of your fate for a day? How might you think about this differently? What might you do differently? Perhaps the person you are working with doesn’t seem into the work and so it makes it boring for you too. What might you ask that person to increase their engagement in the task at hand? How might their increase enhance yours leading to an upward spiral?
What this all means is that we have choices to make when it comes to our level of engagement. Whether it is at work, school, at home with our spouse and kids, or at play, we choose if we play a small role or if we play the game full out and reap the rewards associated with it. Engagement is a two-way street with plenty of lights and stop signs amongst the stretches of long open road. Full engagement can lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships, higher levels of performance and, connectivity to self and others.
Regardless of where you are, create environments where people feel valued, trusted and able to engage fully. You and everyone around you will benefit.
Best wishes, Glo
(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon