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6 Mistakes Leaders Make that Disengages Their Employees

Running a business, and a team of people, are no easy tasks. There are multiple aspects that leaders need to consider when leading a team to success. Sometimes, however, it can feel frustrating when employees are disengaged and you are trying to reach your goals for success.

Have you considered the possibility that it just might be that you are the one who is causing your team members to be disengaged from their work? This may not necessarily be the cause, but it might be helpful to do some retrospection and see if you truly are the cause.

Here are six mistakes that leaders make that causes their employees or team members to be disengaged:

1. No recognition

When you have a strong team, and they do well on all projects, you might feel that recognition is not needed. This is because you possibly assume that they know they are a great team.

The Gallup Organization surveyed four million people on recognition in the workplace, and found that when employees don’t experience recognition, their productivity lowers and over time they disengage.

When you create a culture of recognition within your team, you have the ability to keep them engaged at all times, but also make them feel like they are doing a great job of contributing to something bigger.

This will ensure that your employees and team members perform above expectations because they get that extra pat on the back that says: “well done today, we are proud to have you on the team.”

2. Unclear goals and expectations

According to a survey done by Gallup, half of employees surveyed did not know what they’re expected to do in the workplace.

Having a team means that you should manage and lead them in the direction that you intend them to go. You should ask yourself the question: “do my employees know what I expect from them?”. Then, you need to ask your team that same question. This will give you a clear view to see if your employees are on the same track as you.

Leading a team does not only entail telling people what to do, it means journeying with the team on the road to success. Each member of your team is vital to reaching the goals of the business, and if they don’t have a clear vision, then how will they know if they are heading in the right direction?

As a leader you should set clear expectations and goals for your team to reach.


3. No room for career growth

Most people search for growth, the ability to learn new skills, and an overall personal improvement when it comes to choosing a career and a company. This means that when a company does not offer this opportunity to their employees, they will more than likely disengage from the workplace.

A survey conducted in Australia, by the Institute of Managers and Leaders, shows that around 60% of those surveyed quit their jobs because it did not offer career advancement or growth opportunities.

Therefore, leaders should offer their employees and team members opportunities to grow and reach new heights. By engaging more with your team members you will get a feel for what they expect from their careers to help you ensure that they receive career growth.

4. Disengaged leaders

A major factor that plates into the disengagement of employees, are leaders who are disengaged themselves. When team members feel like their leaders are not responding to their cries of help or that their leaders aren’t interested in what they are doing, then this can cause disengagement amongst employees.

Studies mainly focus on the disengagement of employees, but not many focus on how leaders are disengaged from their teams. Disengaged leaders can have a large impact on the wellbeing of their team members and also the success of their team.


5. Stressful work environment

Stress can have an impact on employee health and your productivity which can lead to mental and physical illnesses. Not just that, but stressful environments are one of the main reasons why employees become disengaged.

An environment can be stressful due to the location, the staff within the company, the late hours, or even the aircons that are too cold. A balance should be reached, and the best way to do it is by asking the opinion of your employees.

Then, listen to them and value their opinions. Take charge and make the necessary changes to ensure that the work environment is less stressful for the team. Making sure that everyone is comfortable will lower the possibility of having withdrawn employees and team members.

6. Overall lack of leadership

When a team is led by someone, they are expected to be the leader, take charge, and steer everyone in the right direction. Sometimes we find people in leadership positions who are inexperienced in effective leading. They may have unclear goals, they do not take responsibility, leave everything up to chance, or they simply don’t care.

People in leadership positions, who do not understand what leadership is all about, can cause employees and team members to feel led astray. This may cause them to operate in silos, feeling there is no point in trying to achieve something if the goal is unclear.

Therefore, as a business owner, you need to ensure that your leaders are actually good at leading. And likewise if you are the leader. If you do not know how to take charge of a team and lead them to success, then maybe you should consider hiring someone to step in or develop the skills to do so.


Whatever the case might be, it is important to realise that ‘detached’ employees are not always at fault without reason. It is critical for leaders to create the best environment for their teams so that they are happy and can prosper. By being aware of common mistakes, we are that much closer to having engaged teams that have clear goals, and can enjoy receiving incentives for great performance and work.

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