Boosting Engagement and Commitment

Find inspiration to reach new heights, personally and professionally, in the latest IESE Insight

15/06/2016 Barcelona

Illustration: Rebeca Luciani

Rather than giving employees to-do lists of mindless tasks, managers should let people express their work in terms of a commitment, and thereby find meaning in what they do / Illustration: Rebeca Luciani

The latest IESE Insight management review is all about people  encouraging them, with their individual motivations and autonomy, to work toward the shared objective of serving other people. Part of being a manager is to inspire people. This is also what we aim to do with Issue 29 of IESE Insight.

Though many executives talk about boosting the engagement and commitment levels of their teams, few genuinely do it, as IESE’s Carlos García Pont and J. Ignacio Canales (Adam Smith Business School of the University of Glasgow) discovered when they polled managers who complained that their bosses did not delegate enough to them, while those selfsame managers refused to delegate to others. García Pont and Canales show how to transform mindless checklists into more enriching responsibilities, focusing on each person’s personal and professional development.

Though cultivating close manager-employee relationships can enhance the team dynamics, sometimes sharing too much or certain types of personal information can backfire if not carefully managed. You have to set boundaries, insists Nancy P. Rothbard (Wharton). What do you do if your boss wants to “friend” you on Facebook? Rothbard suggests strategies to harness the power of social media and avoid the potential pitfalls when managing the boundaries between personal and professional lives in cyberspace.

Sometimes, people feel disengaged because they see problems but feel powerless to do anything about them, so they keep their mouths shut. Frances J. Milliken (NYU Stern) and Larisa Tatge analyze the reasons for organizational silence and suggest why it’s so important to give people voice. Besides boosting commitment, well-being and productivity, the voice opportunities that people experience at work can spill over to other areas of their lives, even influencing the extent to which they volunteer in their communities and vote in elections.

Tackling Issues From Today’s Headlines

Voice opportunities must extend all the way to the top. This will contribute to making boards more transparent, as IESE’s Pedro Nueno highlights in his article "10 Trends for the Board of 2020." It also brings stakeholder perspectives to bear on strategy-setting, as IESE’s Mike Rosenberg states in his article on giving voice to environmental sustainability for the sake of current and future generations.

Perhaps those with the least voice are the thousands of migrants risking their lives to reach Europe. Oscar Camps is an example of a manager who dared to go beyond his job description to help the migrants. No matter the size of the problem you face, the director Proactiva Open Arms reminds us that it’s better to do something than nothing.

Elsewhere in the magazine, IESE’s Marc Sachon uses news of Apple developing an electric car to ask whether it may be time for you, too, to push out in new directions. His column reveals some keys for any company considering a similarly bold move into uncharted territory.

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