The Results Are In: Poor Leadership Biggest Driver of Employee Disengagement

RL03-09-2016In our February poll, we asked readers their views on what causes employee disengagement. And with 47% of the votes, “poor leadership” was overwhelmingly identified as the biggest driver of employee disengagement, followed by a “lack of recognition for achievements” at 17%.

The rest of the results include:

No vested interest in company goals – 11%
Lack of opportunities for advancement – 8%
Poor work environment – 6%
Poor work/life balance – 5.3%

Additionally, 5% of people who completed the poll selected the “other” option and submitted their own thoughts on the top factors causing employee disengagement, including:

Lack of interesting work
No autonomy
Feeling as though ideas and opinions are not welcome
All of the above

As Above, So Below

If you’re having issues with engaging employees or struggling with actively disengaged team members, it may be advantageous to look at your leadership—more specifically— your leadership succession and development plans.

According to a white paper by Oracle, only 36% of companies are prepared to fill leadership roles should a vacancy occur. And with the inevitable retirement of the largest leadership generation, Baby Boomers will soon leave a leadership vacuum in which many companies may not be able to properly fill.

Succession Plan for Success

One way to ensure you have the right leaders in place during transitional periods is to have a specific succession plan for delegation and management. For instance, plan to whom work and responsibilities go should a project manager leave: who will be the interim leader, what group will take on specific tasks the former employee was responsible, etc. This process helps all levels of employees too. When employees lose a co-worker, often times, they’re forced to pick up the slack and may feel overworked. Plan for the balanced distribution of extra work in order to manage employee burnout during transitional periods.

Develop the Leader You Want

Another plan to consider is to begin developing the leaders you want for the future. Though there are specific traits that are embedded in some great leaders, a leader doesn’t become great simply when a title is given. Factors like time, experience, circumstances, knowledge, and development shape great leaders over the course of their entire careers. If you have employees who have expressed interest in becoming a leader or have shown leadership characteristics during their tenures, start investing in them for the future. From development programs to continuing education to mentoring relationships, leaders are made, not born.

Poor leadership may be the biggest driver of employee disengagement, but leadership doesn’t have to be that factor for you. If you take the time to invest in your leaders of tomorrow and develop succession plans, your management could be what encourages strong employee engagement for years to come.

How have you dealt with employee disengagement? How has your leadership affected engagement? Let us know in the comments section below!

One Response to The Results Are In: Poor Leadership Biggest Driver of Employee Disengagement

  1. Ken Scarlett March 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    True – leadership is the most influential driver of employee engagement. More at http://www,

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