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Unmotivated Employees? Are You the Cause or the Solution?

July 27, 2022

Originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine

Rapidly progressing changes in workforce leadership are a severe cause of concern for the traditional minded executive. A recent study by Apollo Technical, a leading IT and engineering staffing agency, states that 83 percent of businesses say it’s important to develop leaders at all levels. Yet less than five percent of the companies have done anything about it.

For the engaged and motivated business leader, evolving workplaces means evolving leadership styles. A recent CompareCamp article states that “30 percent of organizations have difficulty creating effective leadership development programs due to a lack of involvement from senior management. Twenty-two percent blamed the high cost of programs, 25 percent said the development program took too long, and 23 percent attributed it to the non-usage of leadership competency frameworks.”

These statistics strongly suggest that certain business leaders are actively engaging in excusive behavior to justify organizational inaction. Inactivity is another word for excusable business failure and should be confronted as soon as it is recognized. This means that the engaged business leader needs to be proactive, using the most effective proven leadership changes that are being utilized by adaptive companies.

A study by Forbes states that “48 percent of employees worldwide don’t even like their jobs, more than 80 percent of U.S. workers feel stressed at the office, and only 30 percent feel engaged and inspired by their careers.” These facts are sobering and expensive and need to be carefully evaluated. When weighed with employee dissatisfaction, turnover and retention, this lack of motivation is costing employers billions in lost productivity and overhead.

Common problems associated with this issue are things such as: micromanagement, lack of career progress, insecurity about employment, lack of confidence in management, lack of recourse for work performance and poor communication. Other factors include unpleasant management or coworkers and workplace boredom. These unrecognized issues are the root cause of employee demotivation and need to be evaluated by business leaders.

The International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a Swiss business education school for senior executives, recognizes 25 critical leadership qualities necessary to promote activity engagement. Business leaders should consider immediately implementing these top four proven leadership traits from IMD:

Relationship building (aka a high-performance team foundation) stands as the first critical leadership quality. Gallup’s meta-analysis of employee engagement found that “business units proactively implementing this have 41 percent fewer quality defects and 37 percent less absenteeism. A 21 percent increase in productivity was also seen to result from higher employee engagement. Being skilled in building good relationships results in strongly engaged employees.”

The second critical leadership skill is, collectively, agility and adaptability which allows businesses to stay on the cutting edge. In 2008, the global leadership development and human resources consulting firm, Development Dimensions International, performed a study that listed the ability to facilitate change through agility and adaptability as highly important. Presently, adaptability is one of the most important leadership skills as business environments rapidly evolve and change. Effective leadership works outside of comfort zones, maintains competitive edges and avoids being left behind by industry shifts.

The third most highly-recognized leadership quality is, jointly, innovation and creativity. These push professional industry boundaries. Innovation and creativity mean introducing previously unused ideas into unique situations in an effective method. For example, replacing physical sticky notes with electronic ones may increase technology adaptiveness. A strategically effective and competitive business leader will recognize the increasing demand for leadership creativity and innovation in our changing technological environment.

The fourth essential leadership skill is the awareness to improve company efficiency through employee motivation and engagement. This skill operates closely with relationship building and is necessary to motivate your workforce team, keep employee engagement high and increase company efficiency. Forbes reports that “those teams who score in the top 20 percent in engagement realize a 41 percent reduction in absenteeism, and 59 percent less turnover. Engaged employees show up every day with passion, purpose, presence, and energy.”

Prosperous business practices begin and end with promoting positive company culture. Engaged business leaders and employees are hyperaware of business culture positivity or negativity. Utilizing these four leadership traits effectively promotes strong company culture, increases productivity, improves employee engagement and results in higher profitability. As a resource, effective and integrative business leadership skills are something that an organization can never have too much of.

To date, less than five percent of businesses have set the framework to implement leadership style changes. This brief introduction to these four critical leadership skills should highlight statistical reasons why the engaged business leader needs to make organizational changes immediately. The solution for retaining and motivating your employees is simple: create and become a positive leadership solution within your organization, start being the problem fixer and become the engaged business leader that STICKS with it! After all, an engaged business leader is one that listens, cares, and fosters an environment of change and motivation!


Daniel P Shinaver, M.H.R.M., B.B.A. is a Disabled Veteran Owner and the Founder of DS Employment Services, an Eaton Rapids based business focusing intensively on employee development, retention coaching and full-time management and administrative placement opportunities. His background includes working with returning citizens, disabled veterans and the homeless population by providing skills in Human Resource Management, Business Administration and Employment Development. Learn more at dsemploymentservices.com.

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