An excerpt from Cultural Brilliance™ Radio on Harnessing Your Organization’s Emotional Energy
I want to start with just the basic definition of employee engagement because I think it’s so important and it tells us a lot.
One definition is that employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. When we talk about emotional commitment, we mean that engaged employees actually care about their work and care about the company or organization that they work for.
That definition tells us a lot because we’re already talking about engagement, emotion, and commitment in this way and we’re talking about caring. Those were three words we don’t hear a lot in most organizations.
How we connect to the culture is that engagement is really the employee’s experience within the culture. Yet, we often talk about engagement and culture separately when they’re so inter-connected.
It is a new dialogue about employee engagement. I often go into organizations and have to really talk with groups of people, leaders, teams, about the fact that emotion is part of a person’s experience in an organization.
But it’s really obvious because I still run into organizations where they don’t want to acknowledge that we’re human and have emotions while we’re at work and it should be all about productivity and how do we do things better and how to improve things. As opposed to realizing that everyone sitting around the table, everyone who’s part of a particular team is sitting there with a set of emotions.
They may feel the integrity has been maligned in some way. They may feel that they’re being loyal to a company but a company is not being loyal back. It speaks to these statistics that a lot of us have heard about from the Gallup research that talks about 54% of employees in the US are not engaged and 70% are actively disengaged, which means they are working against an organization. Their unhappiness is showing in how they’re interacting within an organization.
When we’re talking about emotional engagement and organization employee engagement in an organization, we’re also talking about an employee’s ability to reach more performance goals to offer more to an organization.
What is emotional energy and how important is it.
Emotional energy is incredibly important. It’s one of those things we often don’t talk about in a lot of organizations.
In fact, I often hear the opposite, leave your emotions at the door. I once was facilitating a large workshop and had a manager come up to me and say, very seriously, “Is there any way you can teach my teams to manage conflict without emotions?”
I said, “No, I can’t because the reason they’re having conflict is because they have emotions because we’re human.” Absolutely.
I’m going to take a definition from a book that I really love called “The Emotional Energy Factor” by an author named Mira Kirshenbaum. She talks about emotional energy as filling your tank for doing what you need to do and want to do. It’s about being able to go the extra mile, having lots to give and it’s about being feeling filled up in a particular way.
She differentiates it from physical energy. Physical energy, because we’re human it gets limited over time, we use it up but emotional energy is potentially unlimited.
As you learn what works for you, as you learn what makes you feel good, it actually allows you to increase your emotional energy.
Emotional energy is a key part of employee engagement. We see it when people feel valued and appreciated. We see it when an organizational culture is authentic, when people get to really contribute in ways that make them feel good because they get to use their best talents and strengths.
What is the synergy that harnessing emotional energy can bring to an organization?
I think it’s unlimited. It’s what Mira Kirshenbaum says, “When there’s that kind of synergy in place we can bring something that’s unlimited to organizations.” I think one of the best ways we can help people access their emotional energy is by allowing them to be themselves at work in positive ways.
If something comes up that’s not working, being open to listen to them, being open to hear their ideas and suggestions and being willing to act on whatever they talked about.
That’s a big missing piece in organizations that I talked about a lot when I worked with organizations on culture brilliance and creating brilliant cultures is their trust. Can people tell the truth? It’s not just because it’s a good thing to do but because it actually increases productivity, it increases innovation, and it increases productive decision making.
Listen to the full podcast about harnessing emotional energy