Managers and leaders get others to do what is needed. Engagers create conditions that energize everyone to achieve a shared purpose.
Managers and leaders work as the hub of a wheel. Engagers work as the rim of a wheel.
Managers and leaders see themselves as the magic. Engagers see the team as the magic.
The skills of traditional management (Influence 1.0) include recruitment, alignment, coaching, feedback, recognition, project planning, and problem-solving.
The skills of traditional leadership (Influence 2.0) include thinking strategically, making decisions, casting a vision and inspiring excitement about it, setting goals, and designing systems and structures to support the goals.
That’s the wrong question. Aren’t you glad I’m the one who asked it?
At least, it’s the wrong question to start with.
The better place to begin is this: How do engagers think differently?
It is not what leaders do, but what they think about, which creates a top-performing culture. Leaders who do precisely [the right actions] are not necessarily leading individuals and teams who are high performing. High performance can only be predicted for those leaders who are thinking a series of precise thoughts.” ~ David Burnham
I’ve talked before about what I call impact thinking.
At each of the action steps we’ll discuss below, engagers apply impact thinking, and as a result, stimulate those thought patterns in their team.
To many people, the term “engage” sounds like a one-time action: getting people to pay attention for a while. However, engagership is a much deeper, ongoing process.
To other people, “engage” sounds like a narrow term about employees and their jobs, as in “employee engagement.” But engagership has broader implications, from families, to customers, to every area of life.
The skills of Influence 3.0 can be organized into a three-part cycle.
- Frame: engage the head (attention and attitude). Every thought and interaction begins with a frame of mind. The question is whether that frame is helpful. Unless someone intentionally creates it, the frame is often unfocused or even negative. Influence 3.0 involves being “first mover” to set the frame, or else re-setting an unhelpful frame to one that’s helpful. Sometimes it’s as simple as smiling at a person or asking a stimulating question; sometimes it’s as broad as launching a corporate brand.
- Facilitate: engage the heart (passion and genius). Building on a helpful frame, Influence 3.0 stimulates dialogue, helps the team (or customer, family, etc.) identify mutual values and passions, and cultivates a collaborative definition of a shared purpose and long-term plans. If you’ve ever participated in a successful strategic planning session, you probably remember the energy, excitement, and sense of community as the team crafted a vision and plan they believed in. You may not remember any specifics about the facilitator herself,
but she helped the team harness its collective genius.
- Focus: engage the hands (talent and energy). Human nature quickly causes people to lose focus, get distracted, and even forget the purpose altogether. Influence 3.0 requires constantly and creatively reminding, re-aligning, and re-focusing on the purpose … which necessities ongoing framing and facilitation as the team continually develops its shared purpose.
The bad news is most leaders either don’t understand or believe in Influence 3.0, or they believe they’re already doing it well. They are competent in their field, but technical competence is only about 10% of the equation. And even people who become very effective at Influence 3.0 can become ineffective, for many reasons
for example, success can transform humility (an ingredient of Influence 3.0) into self-importance.
The good news is anyone can practice Influence 3.0 more effectively. You don’t need to earn an MBA, you don’t need to develop magnetic charisma, and you don’t even need a “manager” or “C-level” title.
Quick note: In my my free e-book, I provide 8 tools that can help you frame, facilitate, and focus.
This is the third post I’ve written with the invented word engagership. Do you think it helps advance the conversation, or is it just “cute”? Would a simpler term like “engage” or “engagement” be better, or does “engagership” help distinguish the concept from “engaging attention” and “employee engagement”? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Jesse Lahey, SPHR, is the host of the Engaging Leader podcast and managing principal of Aspendale Communications. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If you know anyone who would benefit from this information, please share it!