The destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is shocking. Millions have been impacted, thousands left homeless, and hundreds of thousands are now trying to identify how to move forward. As I watched from afar, Mother Nature first overwhelmed Houston and Eastern Texas and then in another display, aimed her furry at the Caribbean, the Florida Keys and then the state of Florida. No doubt like you, I was both stunned and impressed.
The magnitude of both events and Mother Nature’s power was stunning. And yet, I was impressed with the willingness of so many to step-up and use whatever talents they had to help those in need. These individuals, many of whom had no prior experience in natural disaster aid or rescue services, identified ways they each could help. They didn’t wait for a call for volunteers, instruction, or even approval from FEMA, local governments, or law enforcement authorities. They didn’t wait for someone to tell them how and where to help. They each saw a need, stepped forward, and took action.
The volunteers saw a need and took action
These individuals used whatever skills they had to make a difference. Whether it was using their social media skills to match stranded victims with rescue teams https://bit.ly/2ffl872 or by rescuing animals https://bit.ly/2xsQq13 these individuals became part of the solution to monumental problems. Waiting to be asked wasn’t something any of them expected. Waiting to be given specific instructions on where to go and what to do wasn’t a concern of theirs. They saw a need, and they filled it. However, without the willingness of FEMA, the local authorities and others to trust the volunteers to do the right thing, the volunteers could have easily and quickly become frustrated and angry. Some might have even given up on their desire to help.
The authorities didn’t micromanage
During the hurricanes, the authorities didn’t tell the volunteers to wait for approval. The authorities didn’t micromanage how the matchmaking or rescues were to be conducted. The authorities allowed the volunteers to develop their own solutions given their abilities and their passions. The authorities trusted the volunteers to focus on the same mission – saving lives. How that mission would be accomplished in each scenario would be something left to the common sense and skills of those involved.
The authorities trusted the common sense and skills of those involved
So what does this have to do with engagement? Your organization probably has not nor will it ever face something as devastating as Hurricane Harvey or Irma, yet why do you continue to micromanage and control your team members who want to contribute? Why do you continue to make it difficult for them to share their ideas, take action and help make improvements? Why do you maintain such tight control? If the authorities dealing with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma can trust the ‘less skilled,’ why can’t you?
If you continue to exert so much control, how many of your team members will give up and lose their desire to help you? Let your team help you.
Consider supporting the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma:
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Liz and her team work with leaders to create focused plans for their organizations' future. Then they work with the leaders to ensure their plans are implemented effectively.