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Enthusiasm is not Engagement

05 May
by Bridget DiCello

If your team members are nodding their heads as you speak, and appear to clearly understand what you are saying with their response, “Yes, I understand,” you are very possibly on the road to doing it all yourself.

If you want to get someone to engage, which typically means that they are taking initiative, getting things done, coming up with ideas and playing a key role in reaching goals, you must get them talking and taking action.

There is a definite difference between enthusiasm and engagement. Enthusiasm can be displayed nonverbally, and with words of little substance – and can be a great trait to display at many times in the workplace. However, enthusiasm often includes you speaking and being the center of attention in order to share that excitement and movement and on its own does not get anything done.

Get them to talk. People think, engage and learn when they are talking, not when you ‘explain it again.’ As a leader, you may feel you need to have all the answers and come into a conversation prepared to address a team member’s challenges and objections. When really, what you need to walk into the conversation with is:

1. a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve, coupled with your expertise and experience

2. a strong desire to understand their view of the situation

3. a genuine interest in determining where the holes are in their picture, and

4. a determination to get them talking about the situation to hear their fears, beliefs and planned approach.

Get them to act. Often the first step is the hardest to determine and to take. When you think someone knows what to do, and how to get started, take a moment to test their understanding in a supportive way. You may ask, “What is the first step? What do you think will be the most difficult part? When will you have that first step done?” Then, schedule a time to check in on progress. A definite deadline for the first step will ensure the ball gets rolling, and once it does, it often easier to keep rolling, especially with your assistance as necessary and accountability to agreed upon actions.

Be enthusiastic! And be determined to drive real engagement with the way you engage your team members in conversation where they are thinking, talkingn getting prepared to act and taking action.