The Disengaged

What makes a company great to work for?  We all have ideas about that.  Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, says people who feel valued, connected, and are trusted love where they work.  I agree with that.

There are times when people do not feel connected.  You know the kind, those who are described as people who are disengaged, those who “quit but stay”.  People who are unhappy in their job seldom leave it because finding another can be difficult.  I believe there are incredible people out there, and I also believe there are those who do not feel excited about going to work every day.  You may be in that position right now, or you may work with someone who is not fully engaged.  If so, what can you do?  When Stephen Covey was asked what to do when he works with someone who is disengaged, he gave a surprising response.  He said, “The place to start is to extend trust.  To break the cycle of disengagement, show the person you believe in them, and that you need their input.  When people receive trust, they reciprocate it.”  Engagement goes two-ways.  Of course blind trust is not healthy.  We need to extend trust in a smart way.  Set expectations and make good requests.

There are many ways to build trust which also increase engagement.  Going around someone can be tempting when you feel someone is disengaged, but it will only prolong the problem.  If you have someone on your team who you feel is disengaged, talk to them, not behind their back to someone else.  Show loyalty by asking them to work with you in a better way.  That kind of straight talk builds trust.

I think our mood also plays into the equation of disengagement.  I define mood as how we see the future which is based on our past experiences.  Your thoughts create your mood.  If I dwell on what is tough about my job, it’s hard to feel excited for the future, much less to be fully engaged every day.  Thoughts and attitudes create feelings.  Could it be as simple as just deciding to engage at work?  Do what it takes to be someone everyone wants to work with.

Covey believes the number one thing that makes a great place to work is an environment of high trust.  I agree, and I would add that working with people who have a positive mood makes all the difference.


In everybody’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle our inner spirit.  – Albert Schweitzer






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