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Employee Engagement: Gathering is Our Work

3 Men in a Boat

3 Men in a Boat

Do you gather before you start your work? Do you see gathering as part of work.

In Turkey, I watched these three men gather before they began to get their boat ready to cast off. They seemed so connected and joined being with each other.

I encourage you to gather before you work by taking time to check-in with each other or to huddle or to chat a bit over the phone or text a bit on the computer. We do not get work done through relationships, we get work done with relationships so remember that relationships, not just tasks, are your work.

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and speaker who believes engagement can help us to make both relationships and results more robust.

Employee Engagement Friday Factoid #19: Rudeness

Overloaded into Rudeness

Rude overload

Over 60% employees blame their bad behavior on being overloaded at work. They say they have no time to be nice. Mental overload and stress short-circuit our capacity to be fully attentive about anything — even those with whom we work.  (source)


Throw your overload overboard to set sail with civility at work. Employee engagement relies on achieving results while building relationship. Rudeness not only damages relationships I believe it will diminish results. Niceness is not an extra at work so be extra careful that you don’t get so overloaded that you can’t “play nice.”

David Zinger is nice guy and a global employee engagement expert who uses the Pyramid of Employee Engagement to help organizations and individuals achieve full engagement.



Employee Engagement: Strengths and Relationships

Employee Engagement: Strengths and Relationships

The pyramid of employee engagement is a 10 block model of employee engagement. Here is a link to a 50 page booklet on the pyramid.

After completing the strengths inventory, Strengthscope, from Strengths Partnership in the UK,  I embarked on a systematic application of my 7 significant strengths to each of the 10 blocks of the pyramid. This will make my engagement work more robust while also enhancing personal wellbeing through the application of strengths in the service of others.

Adding strengths to relationships and relationships to strengths

Powerful employee engagement is bi-directional. What I mean by this is that we need to engage with our strengths while our strengths also engage us. I believe successful organizations achieve results while building relationships and that we never sacrifice one at the cost of the other.

Using strengths and relationships to go both directions at once:

  1. Developing others and self-improvement are two of my strengths and they directly connect to relationships. For example, I have had the good fortune to have a number of mentors in my career and even at the age of 58 have a mentor (Thank you Peter Dyck). In return I have mentored some younger career professionals and I expect that this will increase as my way of saying thank you to all those who mentored me. Mentoring has contributed to my self improvement and also developed others. As a mentor, even with my focus on the other, I find that I have also had my own development enriched.
  2. Leadership ceases to exist without relationships. Need I say more?
  3. Creativity is enhance through relationship. John Junson, my designer and partner on projects, and I have developed very creative approaches to work and our books on work. Do you know anyone else who combined poems and cartoons in a book to take a bite out of work? The symbols you see in this post would not be possible without the creativity and contribution of John Junson and I know he would say our conversations have helped him develop some of the weekly cartoons he offers on the Employee Engagement Network.
  4. My relationships are enhanced through my strength of flexibility. I had the good fortune to work with Keith Johnstone, a world master of improvisation, for a week in Calgary a few summers ago and I learned about the key of flexibility in improvisation and how flexible we must be in powerful partnerships.  I do not improvise on the stage but I certainly demonstrate high degrees of flexibility in my relationships.
  5. Enthusiasm is better shared. When I am around genuinely enthusiastic people I feel more enthusiasm and I know my enthusiasm can be contagious when I am teaching and speaking. I have a gentle enthusiasm that comes from the inside out and makes a huge difference in the emotions I experience while working.
  6. Empathy is the foundation of relationships. I spent 25 years of my life in counselling psychology either being empathetic with clients or teaching my students the approach and skills of empathy. Empathy is the strong glue between people and being understood can change a person’s life. Empathy can eliminate all the distance between us and take relationships to places we never imagined.
A few years ago I revised the pithy statement of If it is to be it is up to me to If it is to be it is up to we! Engagement is better together and everyone benefits when we bring out strengths to engaged relationships.
There are 10 posts in this series. To learn more, take the strengthscope yourself, and to be interactive on strengths and engagement plan to attend an educational workshop in London on the importance of strengths for innovation and excellence with a fusion of the pyramid of employee engagement. Here is the information about the workshop followed by an outline of strengths applied to performance mastery.

London Workshop on Strength Based Approaches to Leadership

Plan to attend the London UK Strength and Engagement Workshop Wednesday November 28 from 13:00 to 18:00.  I invite you to attend an afternoon workshop sponsored by Strengths Partnership on The Leaders Role in Optimising Strengths and Engagement to Achieve Innovation and Excellence. I will be presenting/facilitating on the Pyramid of Employee Engagement and Michael Farry, HR Director for PhotoBox, will also be presenting on how to build a culture of positive leadership, collaboration and innovation through a systematic, practical and integrated change and development programme.

For a modest fee of £75 plus VAT, you will receive:

  •  Entrance to the conference and networking over drinks after the event
  •  An opportunity to take the Strengthscope360™ profiler and receive feedback
  •  A free leadership book entitled “Stretch – Leading Beyond Boundaries”
  •  Delegate pack containing proven and practical tools to help optimise workforce strengths and engagement at the individual, team and organisational levels
  •  An invitation to join the Strengths HR Forum (over 1,300 members) and the Employee Engagement Network (over 5,000 members)

To register click here.

Next Post in the Series: Employee Engagement: Empathy Strengthens Recognition

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert. He will be in the UK in late November to support the Go Live event for the UK Employee Engagement Task Force and to co-lead an afternoon workshop on the fusion of employee engagement and strengths for innovation and excellence.

Toppled: 21 Signs Employee Engagement is Broken

Questioning Engagement. A participant at a mining conference I presented at in South Africa asked what happens when the Pyramid of Engagement is broken. It was an excellent question that created a small epiphany for me about an inverted pyramid. Here is an upside down picture of the pyramid of engagement. It represents employee engagement falling away or draining out of an organization.  Following the inverted pyramid image is a list of 21 signs that employee engagement is broken for an organization or an invididual.

21 Signs. Here is a list of 21 signs that work is broken and disengagement rules the day:

  • There is a  lack of clarity of results or even a lack of results
  • Too many results are attempted without enough capacity
  • Results are clear but lack any meaning or significance for employees
  • Performance is reduced to a management system rather than the daily lifeblood of work
  • There is a failure to hold engaging conversations when performance fails to meet expectations
  • The connections between performance and results are weak or nonexistent
  • There are too many people and structural barriers to progress
  • Setbacks trump progress by a factor greater than 2 to 1
  • Collaboration tends to result in many setbacks and disengaging interactions
  • Relationships are sacrificed in the name of achieving results
  • Relationships are viewed as mushy unimportant stuff or depersonalized as human capital
  • Individuals and organizations suffer people-myopia, barely noticing each other, and failing to voice recognition for each other
  • Moments for engagement are frittered away as small and insignificant rather than small and significant opportunities for engagement
  • The state of flow is squeezed out by anxiety and boredom
  • Employees are unaware or fail to leverage the power of small, smart, and significant steps
  • Strengths are dismissed as a short assessment tool completed at a half day workshop that gives you your top 5 strengths
  • 80% of attention is focused on weakness, problems, gaps, failures, and inadequacies
  • There is no compelling why to work
  • The return to individuals for work contribution is reduced to an hourly rate or salary
  • The organization and individuals fail to create and find well being within work
  • Mental, emotional, and organizational energy is frittered away and work is experienced as an energy drain not an energy gain.

Flip. Let’s turn the pyramid of employee engagement around to it original position so that we can: achieve results, maximize performance, path progress, build relationships, foster recognition, master moments, leverage strengths, make meaning, enhance well being, and enliven energy.

David Zinger is devoted to helping organizations and individuals fully engage in work to build and sustain successful and meaningful results and relationships. Request his speeches, workshop, or consulting today on the pyramid of employee engagement to engage all of your employees. Mr. Zinger founded and hosts the 4700+ member Employee Engagement Network. Contact David today at