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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

Rekindling the 'Power of Genuinely Engaged Talent'

This piece is based on my Coaching sessions with CXOs...who often times seek-out from me coaching tips to re-engage talent in their teams that may have got disengaged.

High profiled out-bounds and fashionable large-scale engagement activities have become the way of Corporate life. But nothing is more critical to the Corporate Engagement process than the humble 'one-on- one' re-Engagement meetings that the Manager undertakes for his disengaged team members to rekindle the power of genuinely engaged talent (P-GET)

But before that succeeds, it is necessary as a pre-condition that an effective Manager has to believe in the sheer 'power of genuinely engaged talent'. And if they do so, they will naturally but believe in the sheer convincing power of the 'one-on-one' re-Engagement conversations.

An otherwise genuinely engaged Talent may suddenly get Disengaged for a variety to reasons : * Personal.. a new difficult relationship at home * Organisational.. new boss, change in role, exits * Comparative.. new talent infusion, pay or promotion or bonus for some peer talent

Whilst such disengagement, the talent may partly or fully be self responsible, the Manager of such Disengaged talent is fully responsible for not investing time to re-engage and coach such talent, back on its track should such a situation arise. Regaining lost 'P-GET' is deeply written into the role of a leader.

Firstly, the Manager has to be so closely in touch with his team such that he is able to immediately perceive and recognise the visible signs of disengagement. Errors in work, continually missing dead-lines, lifeless movements, listless responses, sudden aloofness, sulking, sudden aggression, absenteeism, disassociation with colleagues, unexplained ailments are some such behaviours that the leader needs to be on a look-out for.

If the Manager does not interact on an on going basis with his people and is therefore unable to notice the disengaged behaviours....then actually your problem is 'the disengaged Leader' rather than the disengaged talent ! Shame on you for your poor leadership style if you are so badly disconnected with your team.

The leader who does not move out of his cabin or does not mingle around with his team very closely, will miss these observations. Management by walking around was thus a prescription for all successful Managers.

Invest in on going conversations until you as a leader get your break-through with the disengaged talent. Casually ask the disengaged team member to join you for a coffee...(and I hope that is your cultivated normal style so that it does not look awkward if suddenly you ask someone out !!!).

One-on-one re-Engagement conversations with disengaged talent are different from the regular one-on-ones which give performance evaluation and feedback in terms of - 'Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations or Fails'.

Begin the first meeting with casual conversations to place your probes but quickly come directly to the point of your observations. Hear him. Generally at this stage, there will be a denial or some vague explanation that would be given. Share with him your observations and also show him evidences that brought you to this conclusion.

Conclude the first meeting with a warm closure but not before you tell him what you would expect to see as some changed behaviours. Fix time for the next meeting. Not long time after that.

Every subsequent one-on-one meetings should 👉begin with reviewing notes of the previous meeting and should make more learned observations and evidences each time. 👉 Be honest in your feedback. Being nice is important but inauthenticity is not. Use principles that guide 'Appreciative Inquiry'. 👉Do not make strong proclamations or make early interventions but spell out expectations and start giving feedback. 👉Agree on metrics of change that you would jointly like to see with time lines. Focus is on recording one win at a time. 👇But sometimes, hard-push may become necessary. It's an upward spiral. Each success creates more success.

Such meetings are at times uncomfortable and could be painful but you as a leader will have to invest in many more such uncomfortable meetings to regain your lost team talent.

Some tips for you..

✔Prepare yourself thoroughly by writing a mental script to stay on track.

✔🚹Inputs may have to be spaced out in small doses. You will have to gauge and decide. Over a sustained period of time, even the most stubborn respond.

✔ 🔃The medicine takes longer for some and it also depends on how chronic the disengaging problem has become. ☞But sustained failure may also at times necessitate surgery. Put him on warning. Never let him be unmindful of that or mistake your positive coaching to mean your weakness to take hard decisions..

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