Work is the thing that you do when you’re not having a life.

Or at least that’s the mentality that most employees bring to their jobs.  Essentially, they’re renting their time and skills to the company while putting everything else on hold.

But you know the problem with this mindset:  You usually just get the minimum level of productivity and dedication to your customers.

This is a problem even in well-paying jobs, by the way.  So there’s not much correlation between pay and sustained job engagement.  Gallup just put out their new State of the American Workplace report for 2017, showing that few companies do a good job of engaging their workers.

You can be the exception.

It all stems from employees connecting their personal passion to what matters to the business.  Part of this is done by fitting the right people into jobs, and fitting the jobs to peoples’ skills and interests.

Yes, you can customize a job.  That’s one of the parts of being a leader.

But that’s all dry and unemotional.  The truly great leaders also engage the emotions and passions of each person – the soft gooshy stuff that’s hard to describe.

It starts with your own passion for the business, for the customers, for your job.  If you don’t have that, your folks won’t see any reason to care.  Beyond that, you have to understand each person’s desires, priorities and interests, then work with them to attach that to the job tasks.

Working together is crucial.

When you’re involved in a decision, you’re committed to the follow-through much more than if a decision is handed down to you.  Even if it was the exact same decision for the same reasons.

So work with each of your people to figure this out.  That’s going to unlock their passion for doing great work.

This article was first published in InnovatioNews.