The following is a guest article by Kevin Kruse.

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Too often we hear the term “employee engagement” and think of it as corporate wide initiative led by HR. Or maybe it’s why we need to train the managers better, so they’ll do a better job of engaging their team members.

I’d like to humbly suggest that employee engagement is something you can lead, right now.

You can dramatically increase your own engagement at work, and even lift the overall engagement of those around, and the effects will be seen almost immediately.

First, you need to understand your own motivational triggers. Based on surveys of over 10 million workers in 150 countries, we know that Growth, Recognition, Trust and Communication are the top four drivers of engagement. But what about the individual level? Someone who is early in her career may desire growth, but another who is closer to retirement might value recognition more. To help you understand your own motivational triggers at work I developed a free online assessment at www.MyEngagementProfile.com that reveals your personal engagement profile.

Second, be mindful of what your company and boss are already doing for your engagement. Come to work with an attitude of gratitude. Reflect on what is already being done to give information and to seek your ideas. Think about the learning and training opportunities available to you. Consider the organizations mission and goals. How do they recognize employee accomplishments?

Finally, you need to proactively partner with your manager (even if he stinks as a boss) to create a great workplace culture. You must be sensitive of busy schedules, be professional in your approach, and be positive. Consider these conversation starters:

  • “Hey, Teri, I was thinking about how we communicate on the team and had some ideas that I think can really improve my effectiveness. Do you have a few minutes over the next couple of weeks to chat about them? Would love your feedback…”
  • “Hi, Sudha, was wondering if you we could grab coffee sometime this month…I’ve been thinking about my career goals lately and want to get your thoughts on my strengths and limitations, and what career path options you think are in my future.”
  • “Hey Carmen, don’t mean to interrupt…wasn’t sure if you knew that Linda pulled an all-nighter finishing up that design work for the team. We wouldn’t have been able to hit the deadline without that. Just wanted to make sure you knew…see ya.”

Life is too short to be unhappy at work. Don’t wait for the HR department to improve engagement. Be grateful for the good stuff; become the change agent to make your culture great. You might start alone, but you will quickly friends.

This article is based on the new book Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work by New York Times bestselling author, Kevin Kruse.

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