Written by: Michael J. O’Brien
Imagine a group of 5-year-old children who have signed up to play football, although none of them have any real experience with the sport. Their coach, wanting to focus on the basics, spends the whole practice reviewing the rules of the match, mostly how important it is not to touch the ball with their hands. How will these children respond on match day? It is very likely they will stand away from the ball with their hands in their armpits – afraid of the ball. If the ball comes near them, they will move out of the way for fear that if they get too close to the ball they will make a mistake. Visualising these children standing on a pitch with their hands in their armpits afraid of the ball, you are seeing what a disengaged employee looks like, afraid of making a mistake. They stay away from the real work at hand. If your organisation is similar to most other organisations, then this accounts for nearly 70% of your workforce.
Employee Engagement is the optimising of productivity and employee satisfaction, which results in better organisational performance and reduced staff turnover. When trying to create a more engaged work force, it is useful to understand some of the underlying root causes of this disengagement: the culture directly, and the leadership that creates and sustains this culture. In this paper, we will examine how organisational culture and leadership can create disengagement and show the type of leadership you need to create the culture that will result in your organisation maximising both productivity and employee satisfaction.
The above example of children staying away from the ball, as they are afraid of making a mistake, is not only descriptive of disengagement, it is descriptive of passive cultures. The more your organisation has a passive culture, the more disengaged your work force.
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