Recently, I spoke to a large group of leaders at a conference in the Midwest. The room was full of people interested in learning more about how their employees could drive the growth of their companies. It came as a surprise to them when I said that leadership of the companies is partly responsible for this.

You might have heard about the study from Gallup that mentioned that only 29 percent of the U.S. workforce is currently engaged in their jobs. Fifty-three percent of workers are not engaged,  and 18 percent are actively disengaged. But what does this mean and what does it have to do with leadership?

Great question.

First, let’s define the terms. About 1 in 3 are actually engaged. This means they show up to work every day committed to work and want to make solid contributions. The middle group of non-engaged employees lacks the motivation and is less likely to invest additional effort in the organizational goals. The actively disengaged are unhappy, unproductive people looking to spread their negativity to the entire team.

So, for every 10 people you have, three are awesome, five are just punching a clock and two are spreading the negativity to others. So, what makes people decide what group that they will be in? The simple answer is “connection.” When people are disconnected from a company, they disengage. This is where the leadership comes in. There are six ways that we can better connect with our team. (If you want me to send you those, please email me at and I will send them to you compliments of Positive Polarity, LLC.)

Leaders have the great responsibility to keep their team engaged. I know there are some people you won’t be able to change—those are the actively disengaged people. But imagine if we could change the middle five people from disengaged to engaged … would you do it? Before you answer, consider these facts about engaged employees:

  1. They are twice as likely to be top performers;
  2. They miss 20 percent fewer days of work;
  3. 75 percent of them exceeded or greatly exceeded the expectations in their most recent review; and
  4. They support organizational change.

Wow, how great would this be to have them on your team? Again, this comes back to the leadership and what things we as leaders are doing in our company to instill these qualities. The awesome part is that we, as leaders, can control our own destiny and the future of our company. A lot of it just has to do with how we keep our team connected. So at least take a moment and ask for these six ways to keep connected so that you can see for yourself how you are really doing with your team. And then, after reading them, ask your team how you’re doing in those areas. This is will bring about more change and more employee engagement than most other things you could do.

Stay Positive!

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