How Leadership Impacts Disengaged Employees


A study by Gallup highlighted that the majority of Australian employees feel disengaged in the workplace. Good leadership is often credited as being one of the most vital aspects of a business for employees’ happiness, productivity and engagement. 60% were shown to be ‘not engaged’ while a further 16% were ‘actively disengaged’. Those in leadership roles can often have a great impact and influence on those experiencing disengagement, working together with them to improve productivity or manage employee performance


The difference between being disengaged and actively disengaged is that disengagement suggests a lack of motivation along with less interest in investing effort towards achieving the organization’s goals. However, active disengagement is what can develop as a further consequence. Employees who are actively disengaged result in an even greater lack of productivity and the potentially devastating possibility of spreading negativity to co-workers. The Australian reported that this sense of malaise is costing the economy about $54.8 billion a year.

Unsurprisingly, employees who feel disengaged from their work have higher levels of absenteeism than their engaged counterparts. As well as regularly calling in sick, they are also often considering leaving their workplace and are looking for new jobs, resulting in low retention rates. When employees are actively disengaged, products and services provided suffer from more quality defects, causing problems for the company’s reputation and hindering them in achieving their aims and goals.


Leadership is a crucial aspect of management that fundamentally helps to maximize time productivity. A massive 70% of disengaged employees lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership and further to that, 75% of people who voluntarily quit their job cite poor management as the reason rather than the job itself. Therefore, good leadership plays a crucial role in helping to retain staff. With 43% of highly engaged employees receiving feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement, there is a clear indication that employees value attentive, constructive leadership. Listening to issues that their employees have and seeking to address them will help ensure that they feel heard and valued.


Those in management roles also need to show that they value their employees’ efforts and achievements. which can be as simple as praising work well done and applauding accomplishments. By making the time to do these simple uplifting acts, it will become part of the organization’s culture and inspire higher levels of employee engagement, having a knock-on effect to improve time productivity. Good leaders constantly outline the role each staff member plays in the team’s success and connects that to the achievement of business’ goals. However, recognizing that not all members of staff will be motivated or inspired by economic goals is important, meaning they must also address the purpose of the work they are doing beyond economics.

Leadership qualities can be overlooked when putting someone in a management role, which can have devastating consequences. An authenticity and ability to understand employees’ wishes, needs, motivators and morale boosters is crucial to ensuring a productive workforce who feel valued. Time productivity can be tremendously bolstered when employees are engaged in their work which can be achieved by being within a positive work environment, led by consistently strong, organized management.   

Contribution from freelance writer, Jenny Holt

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About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.