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Getting engaged

Updated: May 4, 2023

This engagement we're talking about will be a lot less expensive. And that's a promise we can keep!

Employee engagement isn't much different than a wedding engagement. Hopefully, each party knows their part and they want to actually do it. They are loyal to each other and motivated to be there. Unfortunately, like many engagements, the intention doesn't always match the outcome. So, how can we get it right and make it last (at work, let's set expectations, shall we?)

Teams don't get far without being "engaged".

True. We probably have all been a part of a team where, perhaps, other than knowing who to go to in order to get something done, there wasn't much more interaction. However, in order to drive team outcomes that are connected, engagement is the fuel that is required. If the engagement/fuel is low, the team isn’t getting far.

Quality of team engagement is directly tied to psychological safety.

But like laying out at the beach too long without sunscreen, we wouldn't recommend it. Psychological safety is a necessary ingredient for the right quality of engagement. Fear-based, “I”- focused engagement is often common, wondering about your place or relevance in the team. Referencing Jill Bolte-Taylor’s work in Whole Brain Living, this type of engagement is what the experience is like when the “me circuits” of your brain are activated.

Psychologically safe teams, however, are able to access the parts of themselves that are not worried or distracted with the “I”-focus. They are more easily able to access a state of flow by working on what’s possible when collaborating with the ideas and contributions of their peers.

Hack your way to engagement

You can't get through a career without at least one or two times when you just didn't feel engaged. If so, you are either one lucky person or an AI robot. It's normal to need a hack. A salary and a job title do not change the fact that we are first and foremost, human (again, AI robot notwithstanding). This helps to figure out why you are moving away from a task/situation/encounter. Are you intimidated by what’s expected? Are you feeling unprepared or incapable of delivering? Are you unclear about the path toward accomplishment? Is the task/situation/encounter forcing you to interact with someone with whom you are incompatible or have a strong reaction? Connect to a bigger sense of purpose if/when the detailed tasks themselves are daunting or uninspiring.

Engagement is the path to vitality and from team to an ensemble

Vitality (fun, humor, energy, all founded on trust) moves teams to ensembles. This is not possible without engagement. Beyond individuals who just work together, the ensemble acts as a collective all contributing toward the outcome. A vital ensemble cultivates the right quality of engagement, and that’s where the magic happens. By engaging in the “we circuits” zone, (see above), they have access to many more creative possibilities. The "I" vs "we" circuits are like the difference between burning dirty fuel and clean fuel. Both can propel the car, but which has the better outcome and burns more efficiently?

The VITAL5 ROUNDUPGetting engaged

1. Think "marriage", not "wedding: – engage with the long-term in mind

2. Outcomes require engagement– you can get things done without it, but not impactful, sustainable results

3. Focus on the "we" circuits engage with psychological safety to create ideas, possibilities, and connections

4. You're not a robot (yet) – you can hack your way to engagement by reflecting on your humanity rather than your "to-do" list

5. Strive for the ensemble –be part of the collective, not just the project plan, and feel watch vitality grow with your colleagues

VitalConex is a connect-and-create company. To learn more about the "peanut butter cup" of successful teams, check us out at

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