The discussion on the HR Happy Hour hosted by Steve Boese focused on employee engagement and leadership. Broadcasting from the HR Florida conference, the show featured Cathy Martin and China Gorman. The discussion focused on the question of how to get employees engaged in their jobs and in the strategic direction of the company. One answer was that, while companies have traditionally focused on tactical moves to get employees engaged, what they really need to do is win the hearts of their employees. To do that leadership, based on ethics and values, and leaders who “walked the talk” were critical. But I don’t think I really heard any “how to’s” in that discussion. And I am not sure if there is any universal set of “how to’s”.
Geoff Colvin, in his book Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, talks about where the passion comes from that makes someone be a world class performer. His discussion really became one of motivation and whether world class performers were extrinsically or intrinsically motivated. Of course we all know there has been a ton of verbage written about that. My belief is that we all have an inidividual genetic make up that predesposes us to do some things better than other things. Then extrinsic factors take over “motivating” us to use, or not to use, those genetic “talents.” Those that get motivated or rewarded to use those talents have the opportunity through what Colvin calls “deliberate practice” to then turn that talent into world class achievement.
This makes me wonder if the discussion of engagement and leadership boils down to a discussion of extrinsic motivation providing a situation that allows intrinsic talents and interests to take over. Is engagement just motivation theory in a different guise?
What do you “practicing theorists” out there think? Help me develop my thinking. Leave comment or comments, it is easy to do.
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