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Engagement is a Leader's Choice

This buzz word is misunderstood

Did you know?

Engagement Is a Choice

All leaders and managers must understand that whether or not their workplace is engaged is their choice. The choice to be engaged is ironically not primarily the employees, but rather the employees’ direct manager. Managers set expectations, create structures, and provide opportunities for employees to engage to achieve results within and outside their immediate
work team.


This is not a passive role. If an employee is not engaging or actively disengaging, then you must appropriately intervene. Using your legitimate authority is critical to ensure the employees gain opportunities to improve the workplace. Once employees start contributing on a regular basis, even if they are shy or introverted, then engagement becomes contagious. Therefore, leaders must create opportunities and stay firm in moments when employees push against them. This allows creativity and passion within the workforce to emerge.


Most managers are not trained in how to create a structure that ensures engagement; they typically do the opposite. Everyone knows how to disengage if the boss says, “Any questions?” How many times does that lead to actual questions? Most likely it leads to a room of silent people staring at each other and hoping nobody says anything so they can leave.


My books will help you change those dynamics, at the right moments, to shift your culture to one of engagement. But not engagement only for engagement sake; the purpose is to engage to get better business results.


A nice by-product of those results is that creating an engagement culture significantly improves your employees’ morale and positively impacts all key metrics, including turnover, absenteeism, safety, quality, productivity, sales, and profitability.

Engagement Removes Barriers and Yields Results

Engagement helps your system heal. Carl Rogers summarized the basic hypothesis as follows:

“If I can provide a certain type of relationship, the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth and change, and personal development will occur.”1

Applying this concept to organizations means that if you manage and create structures that support positive interaction, then your employees will engage and apply themselves to solve most, if not all, of the internal problems facing your workplace.

Fast-forward to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report2 and Gallup confirms what Rogers’ hypothesized. If your boss is actively engaged, then you have a 59% higher probability of being an engaged employee. Furthermore, companies that have the highest percentage of engaged employees have the best performance metrics across the board.

The real question is not just one of engagement, but rather how do you increase engagement between the boss and their direct reports? That is the big payoff. Beyond that, how do you engage the right people at the right time to solve the right things? The answer to this and other questions are found in my two volume set, Strategic Engagement.

1 Carl Rogers, Client-Centered Therapy (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1951), 33.

2 Gallup, Inc., "State of the American Workplace," 2017,