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I was contacted recently by a woman who questions whether someone can be ‘too engaged’ with an employer. I went back to her and clarified what does ‘too engaged look like’. She described it as ‘a person who stuck their nose into everything and generally is a busybody’.

I’ve put my answer in a blog because I think it is an interesting question. To me, it is about ‘right person, right role’ and having a clearly defined role. Let’s assume that this person knows what they are there to do in a day (has a clearly defined job description, KPIs and knows when they have ‘won’ at their job)… but still cannot help ‘contributing’ wherever possible to anyone who will listen, and they have an opinion about everything. This is a person who needs to be heard.

One thing we have done at RedBalloon is in the first few days after joining the business, each person completes an online survey conducted by Gallup Organization called Strengths Finder. Quite frankly we find what people are really innately good at. For instance if you find that you have someone in a highly analytical role and yet one of their top strengths is WOO (winning others over) then they are likely to be very loud and vocal and wanting to tell everyone what they have just learned (they are likely to even blog it – I’m high on WOO hence the blogs and tweets).

We checked in our organisation who is high in the strength of ‘command’ – these people make great fire wardens. – you can give additional tasks to people to support the use of their strengths.

I personally don’t think that someone can be ‘too’ engaged – I just think that the organisation needs to manage, harness and develop that person’s passion for the greatest return to the business and for the individual. A straight conversation with that individual needs to take place on how to best contribute and the impact of the current situation.

If I think back to my corporate career – I was probably a right royal pain in the neck for my managers…. Wanting to change the world every second of the day. (It’s why I needed to run my own show) –Two other of my strengths are positivity and self-assurance – and I’m not that strong on detail or process. I was not ‘heard’ when I worked in big business… I had to take my voice elsewhere.

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