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May 19, 2022
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An Almost-Guaranteed Cure for a Disengaged Employee

Here’s a news flash: People are different! That’s one of the many reasons leadership is so challenging. However, of all the strategies I’ve experienced in my career to raise engagement, there is one that is almost fool-proof… Give people real responsibility.

Here’s a news flash: People are different! That’s one of the many reasons leadership is so challenging. However, of all the strategies I’ve experienced in my career to raise engagement, there is one that is almost fool-proof… Give people real responsibility.

I’m confident hearing that advice surfaces at least one of several questions. So, I’ll do my best within the constraints of this format to give you a few answers to help you move forward.

What type of responsibility are you referring to?

Responsibilities come in many shapes and sizes. They can be as simple as a task or as complex as a multi-faceted, cross-functional global assignment. They can also include decision rights and accountability for outcomes.

How do you decide what type of responsibility is right for someone?

To give someone the right opportunity, you should consider several factors:

  • readiness (skills and attitude);
  • current workload;
  • the consequences of a poor outcome (brand, customer or client, cost, relationships, etc.);
  • the employees track record with similar assignments;
  • the level of support the person will have during the assignment.

Is this the same as delegation?

Maybe. However, people often associate delegation with tasks not outcomes, decision rights, or complex projects. But don’t let the similarity discourage you, delegation done well can also boost engagement.

"People who accept responsibility care more." Mark Miller
Mark Miller Author