Twenty minutes went by before Jan even realized that she was staring blankly at her computer screen. She thought to herself that it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there was a time when she was excited to come to work. But things changed. A few of her colleagues moved on and new regulations restricted creativity, but the biggest factor in her disengagement was her new supervisor. Each day she was consumed with nothing but uncertainty, isolation, boredom, and neglect. The negative aspects of work-life were stacking up, creating an atmosphere of disconnect and withdrawal.
Jan’s boss is a poor leader, and he alienated people with his behaviors. The sad truth is that Jan is not alone in how she feels about her manager. According to Gallup only about a third of U.S. employees are engaged. There are tons of reasons why employees are disengaged at work and we can’t saddle all of them on the leader, but there are three surefire ways to guarantee worker disengagement, and they can plague any organization if we’re not careful.
- The first, and probably the most common problem with low level leaders, is that they don’t celebrate their people. Poor leaders ignore the accomplishments of others and treat everyone as a commodity. Instead of lifting people, they use them for their own success, take credit for any and all achievements, and hold them back from being recognized.
- The second and equally damning behavior is when low level leaders create uncertainty for the team. Bad leaders deliver vague goals that are then coupled with high expectations. They want results but convey very little direction. Instead of relying on clear values, they constantly convey new objectives.
- The third, and toughest habit to break, is when low level leaders micromanage the people they supervise. They take away their ability to make decisions, to manage their time effectively, and to act with confidence. Instead of unleashing talent by empowering people, they paralyze them by second guessing their every action.
Leaders don’t wake up and decide to be ineffective. In fact, we believe that many leaders are simply unaware of just how much their actions actually stifle the people they lead. The remedy is to recognize when your leadership is low level and how you can shift your actions toward engagement. The following Employee Engagement Chart demonstrates the key behaviors associated with low level leadership and how each has its own countermeasure so that you can climb out of the valley of disengagement once and for all.
That’s this month’s model for employee disengagement/engagement. Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, and more. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of others who get alerts, resources, podcasts, and more.
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