Commitment and Dedication - 14 April 2009
One-in-three Australian marriages end in divorce. Some of the reasons marriages fail include money issues, infidelity, or my personal favourite – irreconcilable differences. But no matter where a couple decides to direct their blame, I reckon most marriages fail because couples don’t continue to court each other after their wedding day. In effect, they stop dating.
The cute surprises stop. The unexpected “I love you” gifts come to an end. The romantic dinners cease. Sweet-nothings become a distant memory as bodies and attitudes change. Romance is saved for rare occasions. And before you know it, commitment is gone and dedication to the marriage is non-existent
A similar thing happens at work. In the early stages, managers passionately do all they can to engage their employees because it’s fresh and exciting, but then the honeymoon ends. For some reason, engagement eventually takes a backseat and before you know it, employee commitment is gone and dedication to the job is non-existent.
To maintain someone’s commitment and dedication – whether it be a spouse or an employee – never stop dating. Here’s what I mean.
Daily rituals: It might be the early morning text message or the “you hang up, no you hang up” good-night phone call before bed, but daily rituals define new relationships. At work, this is all about making a meaningful one-on-one connection with each employee. Contact them.
Create anticipation: A joy of dating is the butterflies you get in anticipation of seeing your partner. This thrill can be replicated at work by utilising to some degree your employees’ talents and by creating new and interesting job experiences. Stimulate them.
Try to impress: We'll spend hours on our hair or days in the gym, doing whatever it takes to impress our date. So when was the last time you did something for your team for no other reason than to get a “wow, thanks” reaction? Surprise them.
Undivided attention: When dating someone we like, we talk for hours and hang on to every word they say. Listen just as intently to what your employees have to say. Show interest, minimise disruptions, ask questions, and act on their suggestions. Notice them.
Displays of affection: Unable to control our feelings, there’s no such time as a bad time and no such place as a bad place to showcase the newfound love. The equivalent at work is to openly praise your employees and demonstrate empathy. Respect them.
To quote Mignon McLaughlin, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Similarly in the workplace, never stop dating.
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