The Secret to Employee Engagement

The Secret to Employee Engagement

Engaging employees remains at the top of final list of key objectives for the Learning organization in 2016 and 2017. But the challenges are still staggering. The following are stats from our research:

  • Only 31% of employees say they’re actively engaged;
  • An overwhelming 51% of employees said they are not engaged; and worst of all
  • 18% say they are actively disengaged – meaning, they are quite possibly working against you!

As any course on leadership will tell you, leaders are responsible for setting the tone for employee engagement in an organization. And many times, employee engagement can be traced back to a senior staffer who engages employees more as a of ‘Manager’ then as a ‘Leader’ in their day-to-day dealings with their people.

Below is a refresher on the differences between how a manager and a leader operate:



Focuses on Short-Term Thinking

Assigns Blame

Takes Credit

Authoritarian Style of Management

Transaction Focused

Work Focused

Appeals to the Head

Seeks Comfort

Avoids Risk

Avoids Conflict

Enacts Culture

Wants to be Right

Focuses on the Longer Term View

Takes the Blame

Gives Credit

Charismatic Style of Management

Transformation Focused

People Focused

Appeals to the Heart

Seeks Change

Manages Risk

Uses Conflict to Teach & Empower

Shapes Culture

Wants What is Right


If you think about the culture that would probably result when senior leaders default to a ‘management’ style, you can see how engagement could easily go off course. Not many people will put forth that extra effort if they know that their boss is going to take the credit for the good work they do. And making matters worse would be the tendency of a senior leader to assign blame when a new idea goes awry.

This is the season to take inventory of where you might be on that scale from manager to leader, and then putting into gear those actions and characteristics that will transform you into a leader. It’ll take a while for the transformation to occur, but if you follow the checklist, you’ll eventually start doing the right things by reflex. For sure, your employees will notice and appreciate it.


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