Mission and Vision Should be More Than "Just Words"
Ever notice when you join an organization how much they push their mission and vision? Many companies even have these statements on employee badges, plaques and the like. Yet for every one employee who buys into the words, there are a hundred who roll their eyes and point out the dissonance between the words on paper and the real organizational culture.
The problem is that many organizations view a mission and vision as something to be written down and trotted out when convenient, not a vibrant honest pledge that has to be lived daily. Organizations must work to change their culture so that employees feel actions match the "words on the wall." Engaged employees are those who feel proud, empowered, excited and a part of the organization.
There is a story about President Johnson visiting NASA and stopping to say hello to a janitor mopping the halls. The janitor introduced himself and proudly said "Mr. President, I helped to put a man on the moon."
That employee was engaged!
Lab managers often feel that as middle managers they can do little to affect employee morale. They even sometimes hate the mantle of being seen as representative of management. They do, however, have the ability and obligation to create employee engagement. They can do this by listening, walking in the shoes of their employees, encouraging employees to feel empowered to create solutions. Most importantly they can model and reward desired behavior.