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Employee Engagement

Coming Alive: Part III — You Can’t Spell Reengagement Without Manager


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This is the third part from the book Coming Alive: The Journey to Reengage Your Life and Career  by Ruth K Ross.  

Why are managers like accordions? Have you ever thought about how an accordion works? In order to make a sweet sound come out of that cumbersome instrument, both sides need to be embraced in perfect harmony.

If you apply more pressure to one side than the other, you won’t exactly hear sweet music. But if you play the instrument precisely as it was designed, the sound it produces will be beautiful. So what does this have to do with employee engagement?

Think about it this way. Engagement is like a two-sided instrument such as an accordion. The left keyboard stands for top management, handing down a mandate to produce more in a faster timeframe, all the while keeping resources flat or even reduced. The right key- board stands for employees. They require more of management’s time, energy, and support. Each side relies upon the other for sweet music to be made. And therein lies the lasting conundrum. How are managers supposed to keep both of these sides playing in harmony, creating in-tune music together resulting in increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and increased revenue?

Managers can’t play a harmonious tune if even one person on their team is disengaged. It’s like trying to play a song on a piano missing a key. In today’s tough business environment, managers can’t afford to have a team working for them that is not fully engaged. Even worse, if your manager is operating on a low battery, then how can you expect him to charge and reengage others?

Most disengagement is silent unless someone is actively disengaged and wants everyone around them to know it (and potentially harm the organization along the way). As we’ve talked about in prior chapters, there are many ways to spot the symptoms and diagnose the disease. Our goal should be to think prevention first, rather than having to get out the cardiac-arrest paddles when it might already be too late. How do we get ahead of the curve and limit the number of people who are choosing to “quit and stay” in their chairs? How do we make sure that everyone is alive and healthy in the workplace? How do we ensure that the accordion is played properly? I’ve got the cure.

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