From January to June of 2018, 53% of workers in the U.S. were “not engaged” at work. 13% were actively disengaged. The latter group were working against their organization. (Gallop)
Complaints of incompetence:
Leaders complain that employees are disengaged. But they give instructions without asking questions and treat people like objects. It’s ridiculous doublespeak.
Lousy leaders expect engagement and they want to treat people like objects at the same time.
Treat people like tools and they’ll wait to be told what to do. Treat people like human beings and they’ll eventually dare to bring their hearts to work. And isn’t engagement about the heart?
Traditional professionalism is a pathetic excuse to expect engagement without heart.
Two Secrets to Engagement:
#1. Engage people if you want them to be engaged.
- Secrets strangle engagement. No one feels engaged when upper management drops stingy nuggets of information to the minions on the frontline.
- Seek input before making decisions. People don’t need you to agree with them. They need to feel heard.
- Delegate as many decisions as possible. Warren Buffet said, “We delegate almost to the point of abdication.” (Warren Buffets Management Secrets)
Compliance isn’t engagement. The coercive tools that demand compliance destroy engagement.
Engagement is a choice, not a command.
Note: New employees and the inexperienced need more guidance and instruction. Your involvement enhances their engagement. But competent people don’t like being told what to do. Do you?
#2. The tougher the issue, the kinder you need to become.
Professional distance is for the birds.
- Kindness isn’t weakness.
- Explore negotiable issues while holding to non negotiables.
- Stand your ground with a smile.
- Coach for performance as a first alternative. Coaching is an employee driven encounter where managers give fewer answers and ask more questions.
- Correct or confront with optimism, respect, and clear accountability.
Be kind when situations are tough.
What leadership practices encourage disengagement?
How might leaders enhance engagement?