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The Disengagement Pyramid: A Culprit of Many

During my routine of journaling and meditation, I find myself pondering over this statement, "It's just a job," that I've heard so regularly in the past, and even today. And I had this Eureka moment! A theory of sorts was born, so hear me out.

Realizing You're Not Alone in Feeling Disengaged

For a long time, you probably felt disengaged at your job. It may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but you aren't alone. I realized that sometimes many of us felt the same way. We all tend to accept this disengagement as long as we manage our daily tasks—it seems like doing just our jobs is enough. But is it really? It turns out, a significant number of us are aware of this issue, even if few are willing to openly acknowledge it.

Understanding the Root Cause

This led me to question: Whose responsibility is it to address this disengagement? It’s easy to blame leadership or point to the overall culture. However, these answers felt too simple. To get to the bottom of it, I applied the First Principles of Thinking, breaking the issue down to its basic elements. It starts with us, the individuals. Why do we feel disengaged? It often comes down to feeling unheard and unmet in our professional needs.

As I explore the Problem, it begins with

Staff Emotional Disengagement

Why It Happens: Lack of support and recognition from leaders can lead employees to withdraw emotionally from their roles. This often results in lower commitment and diminished effort.

Evidence: A study in the "Journal of Organizational Behavior" found a direct link between emotional disengagement and both decreased job performance and a higher likelihood of leaving the company.

Leader Disengagement and Its Impact

Leaders who are disengaged tend not to provide clear direction or feedback, making their teams feel unsupported and undervalued.

Evidence: Gallup research indicates that managers account for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.

This leads to the following consequences:

Employees do the bare minimum and lose interest in going beyond their basic duties or advancing in their careers.

And thus seeking alternatives...

Disengaged employees often look for new roles that promise the recognition and challenges they’re missing. According to LinkedIn, 85% of workers are either actively seeking or are open to new job opportunities.

Here's where it becomes A Vicious Cycle

Leaders may become increasingly disengaged when they observe declining results without understanding how to improve engagement. The cause of it?High stress and inadequate support.

It might be easy to solve when the team is small...

But like a virus, it spirals up the hierarchy and become entrenched in the organizational culture, creating layers of unproductivity that are difficult to change. The organizational culture significantly influences employee behavior and becomes more rigid over time.

There are ways to break the cycle...

  1. Equip leaders with skills in engagement, communication, and empathy.

  2. Implement regular feedback, recognition and rotation programs, and career development opportunities.

  3.  Adopt flatter organizational structures to make management more approachable and responsive, a strategy increasingly used by tech companies.


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