What’s Killing Employee Initiative–And How To Bring It Back To Life

Why do so many employees lack initiative and show little interest in their employer?

When employees first start working at a job, they are typically excited and enthusiastic about their new roles. For many, this is their dream job and they have spent years in school or in training to become qualified for this role.

They want to make a difference and be part of the team.

What ends up happening is these new employees quickly become disillusioned.

New employees often idealize the notion of working for a company. But in reality, most organizations are run by leaders who are too busy to lead—leaders who ignore new employees, don’t listen to their ideas, and don’t treat them with the respect they deserve. Most of these leaders don’t understand how their actions affect their people, who give up and leave.

After a while, many new employees just give up. They say to themselves: “You know what? I’m just going to do my job, keep my mouth shut, and go home.”

You might be surprised to learn there have been more than 15,000 books written on the subject of leadership. It seems our knowledge of leadership has never been stronger. It also seems like our practice of leadership remains subpar and it’s getting worse. The busier we get as leaders, the less time we have to spend with our people. In a time where we are all connected digitally, we are becoming more disconnected on a personal level.

Leadership is simple – It’s about influencing a group of people to accomplish a goal. Click To Tweet

If we want to solve this problem, it’s time to get back to the basics of leadership. Leadership is simple – It’s about influencing a group of people to accomplish a goal. There are three main elements: people, influence, and goals. Do you know what’s not on this list? E-mails or meetings.

The average manager today is too busy to lead. Many business leaders come into work and they have full inboxes and long to-do lists. They spend the morning banging out e-mails because they have meetings to get to. They have back-to-back meetings and then head out to lunch with a customer or vendor. By two in the afternoon, they still haven’t even seen any members of their team. And the process repeats itself the next day.

Most managers are forgetting about people, influence, and goals. And most employees feel their manager just doesn’t care.

We have to remember that leadership is a people business.

Leadership is a people business. Click To Tweet

The first step in solving this problem is to recognize that, as leaders, we are in the people business. We have a team of people who work for us and we need to engage them. Just like Coach Belichick, if we want engaged employees, we need to be an engaged leader! That’s the bottom line.

As a leader, you can never underestimate the power of your presence. So be present!

Physically push yourself away from your desk. Even if you’re swamped with work, get into the workplace and talk to people. See what’s going on. Engage your team!

Try this out for the next two weeks and see if it makes a difference in your organization.

Focus on people, influence, and goals.

You’ll be surprised by the results.


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