Managers often reflect on their teams’ engagement: how to motivate them? How to ensure that they are involved and do their best? Meaning as an antidote to demotivation has become a platitude, to the point that we forget that it is just one of the ingredients that nourish engagement. We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. To feel less isolated, lost and frightened by this whirlwind in which everyone tries to find their place, one reflex involves creating bonds with others.
Since modern organizations constitute, at their scale, a world just as turbulent, employees would like to be able to socialize more in it. To quote André Comte-Sponville, “employees do not work because they love the work, the organization or the boss. They work because they love themselves and their children. They work to be happy1.” This involves in particular higher quality moments and discussions with colleagues who we spend most of our time with.
1 André Comte-Sponville, «Un cadre doit être un pro- fessionnel du désir de l’autre» (“A manager should be a professional of the other person’s desire”), interview in La Lettre du cadre, August 30, 2016.
Yet we do not subscribe to the emerging ideology of the “Chief Happiness Officer”, because in our mind happiness stems from the quality of the work performed, the relationships with colleagues and the feeling of accomplishment that enables individuals to be happier. Thus it is illusory to try to impose happiness on employees by mandating it through a position. However, this happiness can be substantially influenced by the actions the organization puts in place to create a breeding ground favorable to the expression of their creativity and more harmonious relationships. Therefore it is a question of inventing new positions and entrusting certain people identified in the organization to develop and disseminate a culture of caring.
The key to this sense of quality time spent in the organization stems from the trust we have in our team members, the feeling of emotional security we can experience in our daily professional lives and the resulting energy and cooperation. To reach this state and create this favorable ambience, one of the keys is the expression of each point of view. People should feel free to speak their minds so everyone can feel valued and appreciated. Every falsehood destroys trust.