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Actively Disengaged Employees - Liabilities or Untapped Assets?

by Jonathan Jones

You know the type. Bursting with ability, “actively disengaged workers” – about 16% of the work force – manifest all the signs of profound dissatisfaction with every aspect of their work lives.  Their list of grievances with co-workers, bosses and duties, as loud as it is long, impedes not only their own performance but everyone else’s too and ultimately drains the organization of essential energy and negatively affects the bottom line.

But before you fire them, step back and consider what factors might have caused their disengagement. As likely as not, these individuals are less deeply troubled than misunderstood and underchallenged. Instead, look at your management team. An unhappy worker is often a bored, unappreciated worker.  

Highly talented people, typically passionate and strong-willed, usually burn with a desire to do great things, not just ordinary tasks. When they are not encouraged and inspired, their pent-up talents become toxic elements. Like undisciplined children, they will seek attention via negative behavior rather than risk not being noticed at all. Or even more costly, they will take time away from the job, doing their own thing and trying not to be caught.  

Take time to study what these admittedly willful employees bring to the table. Recognize their strengths and take steps to guide them toward a profitable use of their abilities. The greater their talents, the greater your responsibility in keeping them motivated, their contributions recognized. If you don’t quite know how, get help from a professional workplace coach or invest in management training. A little investment in self-education can pay big dividends in a talented, well-trained employee who serves you well as opposed to the expense of new hires who are just as likely to become disengaged.

Jonathan Jones ( or 314-608-0783) owns Jonathan Jones Consulting.
Submitted 9 years 34 days ago
Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
Views: 2661