Introduction to Strengths-Based PM: Social Intelligence for Project Management

North Carolina Chapter +1

Ruth is a program manager, group coach and author in Durham, North Carolina.

The Challenge of Engagement
Anyone who has been in the workplace for a while knows that collaborative motivated teams accomplish a lot more than their unhappy disconnected colleagues. There is plenty of research from organizations such as Gallup that shows that engagement is a key factor in how people perform at work. And from one perspective, the statistics are worrying. It seems that, across the world, only one in three people are engaged at work—leaving two out of three of us who are not[1].

And what are the implications of disengagement? At its worst—which is when we have team members, managers, customers and other stakeholders who are actively disengaged—the actions and efforts of their colleagues are actually being undermined. Negative talk, persistent complaining and grudging work effort—combined with absenteeism and turnover—starts to negatively impact the entire team. Deadlines slip, work is not up to par, and tasks get missed.

This a natural phenomenon called social contagion. As humans, we are designed to mirror the behavior—and mood—of the people around us. The consequences of low engagement are not hard to imagine—you only have to think of what outcomes might occur during a surgery conducted by a two-thirds disengaged team. Or think about crossing a bridge constructed by a two-thirds disengaged crew!

Even if…

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"Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world."

- Albert Einstein