SBM Articles


Reengaging the Disengaged Employee

by Jonathan Jones

“Actively disengaged workers” — roughly 15% of the workforce — show all the indicators of significant discontent with every element of their professional lives. Their extensive list of complaints about colleagues, managers and assigned tasks impedes not only their own performance, but everyone else’s as well, eventually draining the organization of crucial energy and severely impacting the bottom line.
Before you terminate them, take a step back and analyze what variables may have contributed to their disengagement. These people are often misunderstood and under-challenged rather than severely afflicted. Begin by looking at your management team. A disgruntled employee is more likely to be a bored, undervalued employee.

Talented individuals, often driven and self-motivated, have a burning ambition to achieve greatness rather than to settle for mediocrity. In the absence of encouragement and inspiration, their untapped potential turns into a hazardous waste product. As if they were children, they’ll resort to inappropriate behavior to get their way rather than risk being ignored altogether. In the worst-case scenario, they’ll take time off from work to do their own thing and hope they don’t get caught.

Take the time to investigate what these obstinate workers have to offer. Recognize their talents and take measures to encourage them to optimally use their abilities. The higher their abilities, the greater your obligation to keep them motivated, engaged and recognized for their achievements. Partner with a workplace coach or take management training if you’re unsure about how to accomplish this on your own. A little investment in self-education may yield enormous benefits in the form of smart, well-trained employees who serve you well, rather than new workers who are just as likely to grow disenchanted.

Jonathan Jones ( or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.

Submitted 1 years 249 days ago
Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
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