The 3- H’s Of Engagement: Heads, Hearts & Hands

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The Art of Engaging Hearts, Hands and Heads
Photo credit Below

I posted a question to twitter yesterday asking what common mistakes are made by leaders and supervisors. One of the respondents was from @anthonystevens,

“Typical management blunders include, Micromanagement, misplaced priorities, treating people as interchangeable “things”.

After reading Anthony’s answer I perused his blog and found a fascinating reference theGlobal Workforce Study which is a survey of 90,000 employees from 18 countries conducted by Towers Perrin. As I read the initial findings of the survey I found myself smiling as Julie Gebauer, Towers Perrin Managing Director, who leads the firm’s Workforce Effectiveness and co- author of Closing The Engagement Gap” explained,

“Our study shows that barely one in five employees (21%) is fully engaged on the job. And 8% are fully disengaged.Worse yet, fully 38% are either wholly or partly disengaged, meaning they might not know the right things to do to add value to the company or they might be doing just the minimum to get by. Broadly, organizations face something we’ve labeled an “engagement gap.” They are not getting the discretionary effort they need from their people to drive their performance and growth agendas, and it’s hurting both their top and bottom lines.”

Gebauer goes on to explain that employee engagement has little to do with the criteria that attracts an employee to a job. Seems attraction is not retention and retention is not engagement. DUH!

I was thinking of how much of what Daniel Pink outlines in his book ‘Drive’ supports the Global Workforce Study and then as sometimes happens my brain started thinking a little bigger, a little outside the work environment and I found myself back where I am most comfortable. Thinking and doing things that impact all people; not just employees. I mean geez, engagement and relating pertains to every relationship you and I have, not just those we do for money, at work or in business.

If people are not effective on the relationship, interpersonal side of things, if they can’t engage human hearts, hands and heads they will never fully succeed at life. Life is engagement.

A few of my thoughts on ‘The Art of Engaging; Heads, Hands & Hearts’Heads:

It’s been said we are what we think. As a woman thinketh, therefore she is… Or something like that. The rational side of connecting is where we connect with the story, the purpose, the big picture. It’s where understanding occurs. The client understands and connects with the companies purpose, brand, mission. The employee connects with the values and beliefs of the organization. Understanding, rational knowing allows people to ‘know’ things and when we know things we are more likely to engage and relate. When things are similar to us, comfortable, fit our stories, resonate with our beliefs and values we move towards them, not away. When this happens we engage at a deeper level.

How do you communicate the big picture, mission, values, purpose?

How do you help people connect to your story? How easy is it for my story to intersect with a part of your story? (This is how we learn, know)

Do you use all learning styles to communicate your message? Do you communicate in a variety of communication mediums to effectively communicate with all learning styles?

What are the key facts, the information that is vital to others understanding your venture, dream, organization?

When others review your information how do they explain it? Is your story, information easily retold? Is it transparent, authentic, clear?

Do you tend to over rely on the rational side and under employ the emotional side of communicating or is it the other way around for you?


Full engagement whether it be an employee, a client, a friend or loved one hinges on much more than understanding and rational relating. It’s flipping emotional!

If you want to engage people you’ve got to touch their hearts. And to touch and embrace hearts you must come from your heart, you must care. At work we find high levels of emotional attachment between employees and employers when employers are good corporate citizens, do good and engage in deep, meaningful, personal relationships with their employees.

Engaging hearts is vulnerable business. It demands an opening up, a deep level of confidence in oneself, a genuine desire to show up authentic, transparent and sincerely caring enough to connect beyond mere facts and rational understanding.

How do you show you care?

What do you do to communicate your feelings and emotions and how does this impact your relationships?

What does it feel like to be with you for a brief amount of time and over time?

What is your impact on people? How do people feel about you, that have been relating to you for years? And those who relate closely with you for months? Minutes, hours?

How do others describe your impact; authentic, sincere, genuine, transparent, real, engaging?

What are your beliefs about the importance of others? How do your beliefs effect you at home, play, rest and worship?


What does a client look like that has had their head and hearts engaged by us, perhaps like those volunteer clients working at the Apple store, or maybe like the coding fanatics over at Linux? How willing are others to make the effort, do the work, show up and help, engage and connect with you?

I don’t know about you, but when someone captures and fully engages my head, heart and hands it’s not long before I find myself waist deep working like a banchi with and for them.

How willing are you to exert effort and what does that say about how engaged you are?

What is your level of engagement with your current venture, job, project?


What is the willingness others have around you to jump in and help you, your efforts; why might that be?

What are you willing to exert effort for these days?

What one thing have you not exerted effort for that really matters to you – and you’d like to engage more fully and communicate a different level of care for?

Engagement- and relating- it’s an art form…

What are you learning about the 3 H’s of Engagement…I want to learn from you!

Pam Hoelzle

Photo credit Teacherholly


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