Top Employee Engagement Killers

Ways Leaders Smother and Destroy Employee Engagement in an Organization

The fire of employee engagement can be doused quickly by a manager’s lack of leadership. Employee engagement is the crux of a healthy, productive organization. Yet we see errors that organizations and senior management make to effectively smother engagement and turn employees off. There isn’t a magic engagement formula – something all companies can do to engage workers. But it’s important to keep in mind that engagement, at its most basic level, is about human relationships.

Is your organization or are your organization’s leaders making any of these engagement killer mistakes?

  • Not adhering to company values. Senior leaders aren’t “above the law.” In fact, they are held to even higher standards. So leaders who are not aligned with the company culture and goals lose respect and employees lose motivation.

  • Ego. This is the tragic flaw that spoils engagement. Ego is the uncontrollable inflated sense of self and sense of superiority, the need to be “better than the rest.” In turn, ego may lead managers to take credit for others’ work, be incapable of receiving criticism, not allow for any mistakes, not distribute the workload (being a work hog) and, in turn, never let anyone in to be part of a decision-making process. Frontline or senior managers with big egos will most certainly smother your employees’ fire.

  • Lack of communication: no dialogue with employees, not providing feedback, not sharing information to help employees understand their role in a process, not verbally recognizing (or in writing) an employee’s efforts, not listening, or listening and not acting, not following up or discussing an action plan after feedback. All of these leave employees in the dark and insecure. An insecure employee doesn’t take chances and will feel stunted and frustrated.

  • Disrespect and bullying are ways to intimidate employees and kill engagement.

  • Fraternization. The rubbing elbows hiring processes, internal promotion and compensation are a surefire way to make employees feel like, “What’s the point. The job is going to his mailman’s aunt, anyway.”

  • The company doesn’t offer room to grow – workshops, mentors, classes, extra training, promotions. Leaders need to realize their main job is to help the employees succeed. Leaders must have a pulse on their employees’ needs and where they should receive extra training. Giving employees to do their jobs the best way possible is the only way success happens, and showing employees that their success will have results (in terms of promotion possibilities, salaries, bonuses and more) is key to employee loyalty.

  • Negativity. This is an entire workplace killer. Senior leaders are company models. If they are broiled in negativity, it’s bound to catch on like wildfire.

Take a look at your organization and try to pin-point pockets of disengagement. Perhaps these departments have leaders who have lost the way. Performing a 360-degree survey is an effective tool to see how frontline managers and senior managers are viewed by employees, peers and managers. These surveys cover a comprehensive list of leadership and management competencies, detecting a manger’s strengths and weaknesses. By detecting problems in leadership, your organization can pave the road to engaged employees and company success.

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