Some organizations believe that the goal of every interaction is to engage everybody. There’s an entire industry out there of consultants, trainers and coaches that tell the general public, business leaders, and teams that they need to engage their people. We believe in general that is true; however, as a sound bite, it sends the wrong message. Engaging everyone can get too much happening too quickly and engagement may not be right for an individual situation or team.
We have found that engaging a team is very much like using any type of tool. If I have a shovel and I say and I’m going to use it, is that good or bad? If I’m going to use the shovel to dig a hole that I need for a project, then that is a good use of the shovel. If I dig a hole but don’t need one, then I’m wasting time, energy, and effort. If the third option is that I use the shovel to beat my partner over the head, that’s probably a bad use of the shovel. Every tool has the potential to be useful or not, depending on the situation. In this same way, engagement of an entire group can be good or bad.
At times, it may be beneficial to use another approach. Below are examples of four different approaches (Fight, Directly Engage, Manipulate, Flight). Depending on the situation, some may be discarded prior to use because they are not the appropriate tool. In other cases, they are blindly used based on the emotion of the moment.
Download April’s Compass Check to read more about different approaches and tools to use for your team.