6 Lessons on Employee Engagement Learned from Leonard Cohen (BTO Article)
By doverall • Jun 7th, 2009 • Category: BTO Articles
By David Zinger, M.Ed.
I attended Leonard Cohen’s concert in Winnipeg with my wife and two 17 year old children. I loved the concert and was engaged with Cohen’s words, music, and performance.
As we were walking away from our seats at the end of the 3 hour and 15 minute concert my wife said you should write about how engaging it was.
After some reflection I thought about how well Leonard Cohen created engagement and what we could learn about employee engagement from his work.
If you would like to listen to Leonard as you read this post I encourage you to scroll to the end of this post and click on the video to have his song Hallelujah as a musical background for your reading.
[Here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzWeN-bVDUc
Leonard Cohen appeared so genuinely thankful to be with us and to experience the honor of entertaining us. His humility and his presence welcomed us into his world and the performance. His sense of gratitude is even more remarkable given how people he trusted took advantage of him financially.
* Do you approach work and the people you work with with an authentic and fully expressed spirit of gratitude?
Acknowledgment. Leonard introduced his band twice. He let us know about the people he was with and he let each ban member shine in their own way.
* Do you acknowledge the people you work with at least twice every 3 hours and do you set the stage for them to perform at their best?
At times, Leonard Cohen was in total rapture of the work of the musicians who were working with him. He often took off his hat or went on one knee as he listened to them play or sing. As the name of the concert and as the leader of this band he demonstrated excellent team work.
* Are you working with your team and on your team?
Encore. Leonard came back 3 times to give the audience more. He fully engaged us and gave us full value for the price of our tickets.
* Do you go the extra mile and offer discretionary “encores” to the people you serve?
Leonard seem to fuse with his lyrics and music. He made the music and he wrote the words but the music and words seem to make him. Leonard Cohen has performed this concert numerous times but he made us feel that this was the only time that mattered.
* Do you bring engaged freshness to repetitive tasks so that they maintain an engaging freshness?
Let us never forget that Leonard will be 75 years of age this year. He brought so much spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energy to his work and literally danced off the stage a number of times.
* What will your energy be like at 75, will you still be working, and do you manifest full energy for the work you do regardless of your age or other circumstances?
Thank you Leonard Cohen for being such a fine model of a leaders role in employee engagement. I encourage you to enjoy this video of Leonard Cohen and his band performing Hallelujah [note: this is an early version, to see a later, astonishing version, access David's orginal post of this article on his site by clicking here]:
David Zinger, M.Ed., is a leading expert on both employee engagement and strength based leadership.
He is a management consultant with over 25 years of experience. His education services are enhanced by his 20 year background as a University educator for the University of Manitoba and over 15 years managing an employee assistance program for Seagram Ltd.
David’s services mix current research with practical approaches to build authentic relationships and achieve powerful results. To learn more about David and access more of his articles visit his site “Employee Engagemnet Zingers” click here.