Recognise This: Don’t kill someone’s engagement. Acknowledge their strengths; feed their abilities.

Have you ever been engaged at work, only to have that engagement killed by the actions (or inactions) of others, probably your direct supervisor?

Wally Bock, another favorite blogger of mine, recently told the story of Dan on his Three Star Leadership blog:

To summarise, Dan was a top-notch technician, always willing to help others, always demonstrating a good attitude. Then he switched jobs. From the onboarding experience (form filling) to a boss that wouldn’t listen to suggestions from a “new guy” or trust him to do a job he’d been doing for years without direct (over the shoulder) supervision, everything Dan experienced in the new job killed his engagement. In just two weeks, Dan’s incredible engagement was thoroughly throttled.

As I commented to Wally, I hate hearing stories like this because I know it’s far more common than many companies/leaders would like to admit and a reflection of command-and-control still being alive and well. "You haven’t been here long enough to know anything yet. … You can’t possibly know more than I do. … Don’t perform better than I do or make it look like you don’t need me."

It’s so much easier to help an engaged employee maintain or even increase his/her engagement than it is to give a disengaged employee a reason and willingness to engage in the first place.

Tell me your story of engagement killed. Better yet, share ideas with all of us on how to make sure an employee who’s engaged from day 1 is willing to stay engaged.

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