Signs of a Disengaged Employee…or Disconnected Lover

Ken Donaldson disconnected lover disengaged employee


What do romantic relationships and employee engagement have in common? Perhaps more than you think.

I often find myself using the analogy of dating and romantic relationships when working with my business clients. When you’re dating, it’s essential to find out if the relationship has the potential to be a long-term relationship. Therefore, it’s important to know what your deal-makers and deal-breakers are, as well as figuring out if the right chemistry is there.

In the business world, this is the same as having clear parameters for what you’d expect from an employee (deal-makers) and what would be completely unacceptable (deal-breakers). Additionally, it’s extremely valuable to know the level of “connectability” the employee has to be a true team player.

Relationships are relationships whether romantic or workplace.

However, there may be a completely different impact with an unhealthy and dysfunctional workplace relationship. This one person can create a virus of negativity that can impede production, ruin morale and turn the work environment into one of misery and contempt.

Here are some signs of a disengaged employee (AND a disconnected lover):

  • Always complaining about problems and never solution-focused
  • An overall negative attitude
  • Makes excuses instead of taking ownership
  • Has no enthusiasm
  • Doesn’t help others
  • Operates independently and doesn’t want to be part of the team
  • Lies, deceives, distorts and omits
  • Is a know-it-all and is unable to hear others’ ideas, opinions or feedback
  • Is irresponsible and avoids accountability
  • Lacks initiative
  • Doesn’t ask questions and makes assumptions
  • Is easily distracted
  • Doesn’t know what their role is and responsibilities are
  • Poor or no communication
  • Avoids conflict

If these symptoms look familiar, then it’s time to take action.

Otherwise you risk falling further and further behind the infamous eight ball.

If you don’t have any of these symptoms in your business (or relationship), then now is a good time to create a culture that is proactive in preventing these dysfunctional dynamics.

Now, consider the following healthy work dynamics:

  • Create an open system for quality improvement. Invite everyone to make suggestions for the greater good of the organization. Reinforce taking initiative.
  • A positive attitude and enthusiasm starts at the leadership level. An encouraging word goes a long way, as do compliments, acknowledgements and affirmations.
  • Create an environment of pride and ownership for each person’s area of responsibility. Make sure they know what’s expected from them, what exactly their role is and how their performance will be evaluated.
  • Encourage teamwork.
  • Have team building activities on a regular basis. Bring in trainers and consultants from the outside to make it as objective as possible.
  • Reward employees for being honest and forthright.
  • Create a powerful model of open communication and immediately intervene if egos get too big. Encourage everyone to ask questions.

With a little modification, you can use some of these same tools for healthy romantic relationships.

Why not have healthy relationships at home and at work? 

What now? Call a professional to help improve your business culture AND your relationship health. If you could have fixed it yourself, you would have by now.


Today is THE day to Marry YourSelf First!


About Ken Donaldson

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