The Reasons Why Leaders Struggle To Get Employee Engagement

Study after study seems to reveal that leaders really struggle when it comes to get employee engagement.  Trouble is that employee engagement is critical to:

  • Achieving good quality service on a daily basis
  • Making the changes in order to improve or just stay competitive
  • Teams working together rather than in silos
  • Customer, client  and service user satisfaction
  • Productivity and profitability

So despite it being critical, why is it that leaders really struggle to get employee engagement.

They Dish Out Instructions

A classic example is the senior team going on away days or retreats, spending time in a nice conference centre brainstorm, strategising and coming back to base with the perfect blueprint.  They then tell everyone what is going to happen and unsurprisingly it does not work.

They Don’t Involve

People spend more of the time they are awake in work than they do in just about any other area of life.  The time they invest in work matters to them and they want to be involved and contribute to the success of the organisation.  Too often leaders don’t involve people and then are surprised when people don’t engage.

They Involve But Don’t Listen

This one really gets people frustrated.  I call it the pretend or pseudo involvement when a decision is already made and then people are consulted.  This tends to be even more of an issue in public sector where even the leaders have to try and make the best of some already decided policy.

They Listen But Don’t Act On Any Of The Suggestions

Even the most committed person is going to reach the stage when they ask themselves what’s the point.  Especially if there seems to be plenty of suggestions and nothing is ever done with them.

They Adopt The Henry Ford Colour Code

You are probably familiar with the comment in the early days of the car that you could have any colour you wanted as long as it was black.  Taking that analogy to leadership it’s making the assumption that everyone is the same, with the same motivations, needs and desires.  As we all know people and groups of people have different perspectives on things and leaders need to respond to the different needs.

The Bottom Line: Yes investing time energy and effort in employee engagement is hard work and at the same time the potential return from engaged employees is huge.

Duncan Brodie helps professional people in large organisations to become better leaders.  He invites you to sign up for his free audio e-course here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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