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12 Behaviors of an Actively Engaged Person

We start every Team Trek program with a simple question, “Who do you want to be?”

The truth is this question frustrates a lot of people. Americans are a “doing” people. We like to define ourselves by what we do and what we’ve accomplished. That’s because “doing” is measurable – we can keep score and see how we stack up against others. By comparison, the question of “being” feels fuzzy, soft and unimportant.

So why do we ask it? Because who you are determines what you do and how you do it. It’s not a trivial question, and it’s not a fuzzy question. In fact, it’s a question that can be answered with great clarity and specificity. The challenge for many is it’s an uncomfortable question, because seeing the gap between who I want to be and who I am today means change. And change is hard.

At the core of who we are is our character. It’s character that determines what we do when no one is looking, how we treat people, the level of effort we put into our work and the degree to which we use our gifts and talents.

The character of a man or woman is at the heart of leadership influence. It’s foundational to a person’s effectiveness as an employee and team player. It determines the quality of our relationships. And it is the key to your future success and happiness. Character is always a choice.

Over the years we’ve distilled this question down to twelve attitudes and behaviors we believe are essential to being a person of influence (see below). This model represents the character of an ideal person, someone who is actively engaged in every area of life (leader, teammate, spouse, parent). At the top of the list is taking 100% Responsibility. This one behavior is foundational, and drives everything else.

By definition someone who is actively engaged acts with a sense of ownership and takes initiative. Engagement and 100% Responsibility are synonymous. It is this discretionary effort that really defines an actively engaged person.

I believe this is the one thing most organizations get wrong when it comes to engaging their people --- they don't expect their employees to be engaged. The result is 70% of all U.S. workers are not actively engaged.

Of course, as human beings we’re never perfect. The value of getting clarity on who you want to be (defining the ideal) is it provides focus for your personal development. It gives you clarity on where you may need to work. I’m personally working on all twelve, all the time. At the top of my list are 100% Responsibility and Empathy.

Read over the list and let us know what you think. How would it change the results your team is getting if everyone on your team practiced each of these behaviors consistently?

  1. 100% Responsibility – Takes responsibility for own responses to other people and circumstances they encounter (they do not blame or make excuses)

  2. Trustworthy – Acts with integrity, clear intent, competence, and achieves expected results

  3. Team Player – Commits to team decisions and objectives (collaborates with others toward accomplishing team mission)

  4. Clear Communicator – Makes good agreements, always identifying and answering the following questions: who, what, when, where, why and how

  5. Empathy – Situationally aware of other people and circumstances (active listener, does not interrupt, asks questions seeking to understand before being understood)

  6. Humility – Puts others before themselves (servant-minded, admits mistakes, gives away credit)

  7. Emotional Self-Control – Responds to facts and known information (puts space between an event and when they must respond, does not allow emotions to drive responses)

  8. Resolves Conflict Directly – Goes directly to others to resolve conflict in a caring and respectful way (does not triangulate or gossip)

  9. Positive Attitude – Does not murmur or complain but has an attitude of “How can we improve or make the situation better?”

  10. Respects Others – Always treats other team members or colleagues with respect even though there may be disagreements

  11. Problem Solver – Pro-active, moves to quickly solve problems or make recommendations for solutions

  12. Agile – Willing to change and adapt to changing conditions


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