Creating Engagement Through Positive Behavior Support

A while back I was talking to a friend who I have great respect for, and he mentioned a book that he felt I would enjoy.  We were talking specifically about staff retention and job satisfaction.  As is usually the case when this friend recommends a book, I went out and got it and started reading.  The book is put out by Gallup.  We often think of them when thinking of political polls, but they have been polling some subjects just as long.  Specifically, they have a large data base full of information on work and workplaces covering over 5 decades.    The book is entitled It’s the Manager: Moving from Boss to Coach. 

According to Gallup, 80% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.  That means that only 20% of employees are engaged or actively engaged in the work and mission of the organization.  Much of the book goes on to discuss how managers move to coaches and focus on the strengths of the employees.  That employees need a greater and more regular number of conversations about what they are doing well than what their weakness and short comings are when it comes to their job.  They show that thought accountability is important, it should be a part of a strength based coaching model with the focus on the employees’ strengths.

What I continuously came back to while reading this book as that the principles laid out for managers in the book were exactly what we teach in The Mandt System.  We first off talk about the importance of our relationships.  The fourth slide into the program focuses on the number of positive interactions to negative interactions which are needed to form healthy relationships.  In our chapter on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support a ratio of 5 positive to 1 negative interactions leads to higher performance and achievement.  When we start to focus on people’s strengths and worth, we view them in a much better light.

When we have fully engaged employees, we have better organizational outcomes.  In a day and age when everyone is looking to hire the last thing we need is to have people leave, however, we also need our people who we do have to be engaged now more than ever.  We are all working and doing more with less.  How do we do it?  With our managers and supervisors using the same expected approach we require of our staff…through positive behavior support and relationship building around trust and safety.  When our employees feel like their manager is coaching them instead of commanding them, they are more likely to be engaged.  When engaged they are likely to be spreading that engagement into the people they are responsible to provide care for.

Tim Geels – Director of Implementation and Governance

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