Why Engagement Should Matter to YOU

In my line of work, I hear a lot about Employee Engagement


There are engagement surveysstrategies for engaging employees, and the costs of disengagement. But, none of this is what matters MOST about engagement.


The most important aspect of engagement is the experience of each employee.   


I have a good friend (let's call her Veronica), who works at an organization that will remain un-named. I've watched with sadness as Veronica, (who I've known for decades to be a super-productive, creative, and dedicated worker), has slowly gone from super-engaged, to less engaged, to UN-engaged, to stressed out and actively disengaged  -- over the course of just 6 months. 

This sad progression is the result of poor leadership habits and practices that are sucking the life out of the employees at Veronica's organization.  

Here's what I see…

  • Instead of thinking creatively and being resourceful about identifying opportunities and solving problems at work as she used to, Veronica is now simply following the letter of the law and doing only what is required
  • Instead of feeling fired up and joyful at work, she gets headaches and gut aches most days. Some days she calls in sick just to give herself a break. 
  • Instead of bringing energy to her work and making sure things are complete each week, she is protecting her own energy and going home at 5:00 sharp, despite the growing workload. 
  • Instead of speaking up to try to solve these problems anymore, she scans job postings when no one is looking. 


Have you ever experienced a similar situation, as an employee and/or as a leader? I have, and it's a DRAG. I've felt the stress of disengagement and experienced the personal impact of poor leadership, firsthand. In truth, I may have even disengaged some of my own employees along the way simply due to a lack of awareness. (If I ever did this to you, please forgive me!)

I have to believe that Veronica's manager(s) is unaware of the environment s/he is creating. If they realized the sheer waste of time, cost, and resource their management style was incurring, they'd feel compelled to change.


Leaders: Wake up! Know this: even your SMALL actions make a BIG difference. 


Here are 5 common ways that managers can inadvertently disengage their employees and suck the joy out of work:

  1. Lack of involvement: Managers make decisions without involving their employees. They fail to ask their people what they think about how things should be done. 
  2. Lack of empowerment: Managers make decisions that should be delegated to their team. Instead of giving employees the latitude to make decisions on their own, the manager decides and announces. (Which robs people of their sense of agency.)
  3. Lack of clarity: Managers don't make their expectations known, or they enforce their expectations unevenly. 
  4. Lack of connection: Managers don't express caring toward their employees. This can be VERY subtle, and can even happen through simply leaving OUT "connecting" questions such as, "How was your weekend? Or, "Hey, it was your birthday... did you do anything special?" Or, "Didn't your dog have surgery?" 
  5. Lack of recognition: Managers forget to say thank you. Plain and simple. They take their employee's efforts for granted when instead they should say, "Thank you," far more often. 


As a manager or leader, your small and subtle actions can have a profound effect on the lives of others. You can create an environment of empowerment and joy, or resistance and drag


Look carefully at your daily interactions. Positive interactions and feedback can grow exponentially greater engagement. The 5 "lacks" can become exponentially worse problems. Realize you can make a difference. 


Tell me about YOUR experiences. Hit the reply button and tell me about ways you are working to ENGAGE your employees or STAY ENGAGED yourself. 

Make it a great week!

About the Author: Claire Laughlin is a highly regarded training expert who has dedicated her career to studying and improving patterns of communication in organizations. Claire works across various industries, coaching individuals and creating large-scale, global-reaching training programs designed to uplift and support excellence across functions and cultural divides. Claire shares her expertise by offering training solutions for all levels of professional development.


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