Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 18

employeeperformance

Creating a Pocket of

when Surrounded
by Mediocrity
Shawn Murphy

S

ometimes the truth is unkind. Yet below the truth
is often an important lesson. Consider the truth in
this recent finding in a workplace study. In a study
conducted by Gallup, they discovered that 70 percent
of employees' engagement levels is influenced by a leader's
style. The ugly truth with this discovery is nearly three quarters
of America's workforce admits to being disengaged at work.
The ugly truth is that our organization's leaders are the primary
cause for why employees are disenchanted when at work.

Essential Inputs

Let us be careful, however, not to overlook the remaining,
modest 30 percent. While mediocrity surrounds that meager
number, a glimmer of hope, or optimism, shines. Some
managers are leading in such a way that they have created a
pocket of excellence.

There needs to be a little rebelliousness in a leader to shift
the work environment and create a pocket of excellence. The
good news is it costs no money. It merely takes a commitment
to tap into people's potential and a strong drive to make a
difference for the organization.

What Is a Pocket of Excellence?
A pocket of excellence thrives within an organization despite its
surrounding environment. Leaders who create such a bubble
have successfully shielded their employees from negative or
mediocre influences that undermine performance. What's more,
these leaders have coached employees on ways to positively
deal with the negativity when it does breach the pocket.
Characteristic of pockets of excellence is its optimistic feel. A
sense of positivity uplifts employees' skills. Consequently, it
influences employees' high performance.
Tal Ben-Shahar, considered one of the world's leading
authorities in positive psychology, explained in an interview
with the World of Business that when we experience positive
emotions our creativity and motivation increase. The quality
of our relationships improves as does our health. These, too,
are characteristic of a pocket of excellence.
It turns out that optimism and other positive emotions are
contagious. They provide motivational sustenance for those
18

success || july/august 2017

within the pocket. When others witness the good deeds
associated with optimism it inspires them to pay it forward.
For such an environment to thrive, employees must genuinely
believe in the leader's intent. They must also respond positively
to the leader's style. This is what makes Gallup's finding so
important for leader's today: They must understand the impact
they have on people, progress, and ultimately profit.

Personalize work. Business has always been built on the back
of relationships. The most important relationship has been
neglected for too long-the relationship between employee
and leader. Strong relationships are fundamental in a pocket
of excellence. Therefore, leaders need to spend time getting
to know the whole person and not only the role a person fills
on the team. Learn each person's goals, their hobbies, and
even their interests outside of work. This helps deepen a bond
between the immediate leader and the employee.
When new people join the team, pair them up with different
people on the team. Rotate the pairs over a month's period.
Help meaningful bonds between employees build. We
spend most of our waking time at work. Make it worth your
employees' time.
Bolster Belonging. While personalizing the work helps
deepen the bond between a leader and employee, it's
also critical to do the same for the team. Professor Roy
Baumeister's research on belonging concludes that human
beings are motivated by the need to build and nurture



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Success by Association - July/August 2017

President’s Message
Event Calendar
Four Ways Managers Can Help Improve Employee Performance
Attract Millennials to Your Meeting
Address These Employee Needs for Maximum Retention
Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Growing Event Attendance Through Content: Very Useful for Associations
Thank You to our Annual Meeting Sponsors
Creating a Pocket of Excellence When Surrounded by Mediocrity
Get the Message
Member Updates
5 Reasons to Consider Live Streaming Your Next Event
Strategies for Effective Business Networking for Young Professionals
Young Leader Profile
Buyers’ Guide
Advertiser Showcase
Advertiser Index
Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - intro
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover1
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover2
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 3
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - President’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Event Calendar
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 6
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Four Ways Managers Can Help Improve Employee Performance
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Attract Millennials to Your Meeting
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 9
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 10
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Address These Employee Needs for Maximum Retention
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 13
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Growing Event Attendance Through Content: Very Useful for Associations
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 15
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Thank You to our Annual Meeting Sponsors
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 17
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Creating a Pocket of Excellence When Surrounded by Mediocrity
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 19
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Get the Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 21
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Member Updates
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 5 Reasons to Consider Live Streaming Your Next Event
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Strategies for Effective Business Networking for Young Professionals
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 25
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Young Leader Profile
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Buyers’ Guide
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Advertiser Showcase
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Advertiser Index
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover3
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover4
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