The Gallup organisation recently released a report that 87% of workers in the world are either not engaged or actively disengaged from their work.
In Australia, the percentage of engaged workers is a little higher at 24%. Yippee.
Only 19% of Australian bosses are engaged in their jobs. An interesting form of leadership - 'Follow me and be disengaged!'
(If you're someone's boss reading this and you're thinking 'Meh...', then it's likely you're one of the 81%.)
Gallup estimates that disengaged workers cost Australia $54.8 Billion a year. That's almost double the Education budget.
Think about that.
It's breathtakingly remarkable.
Each day in Australia, three out of four people:
Sit in traffic.
Pull their chairs up to their keyboards.
Occupy that space.
Briefly vacate it to sing 'Happy Birthday Miriam' alongside mostly other disengaged workers in the staff room and despite a 75% chance that Miriam didn't care.
Perhaps have a meeting with three out of four other disengaged workers to report to a boss who's probably not interested.
Sit in traffic.
Repeat. 251 times a year. For half a century.
What to do?
Engagement begins with the act of decision making.
When we make good decisions, we declare who and where we are.
We nail our colours to the mast.
We reveal ourselves.
We connect with other workers, our boss, customers, critics, with the organisation and its Widget.
We invite, demand, call on them to do the same.
Bosses - give your workers Widget clarity, authentic support, trust and affirmation and delegate decisions to the lowest appropriate level. Teach them about how to make a good decision and model it yourself.
Back them even when there's a mistake. Back them in front of your boss. Back them when someone complains.
Most of all, back yourself to have the courage and leadership to trust your workers.
This act of bravery alone will scare you into engagement with them.
Workers - make good decisions. Don't wait for permission - just make them methodically and learn from it. Your fear will surely engage you with your boss in what happens next.
We must stand up on our desks and shout 'O Captain, My Captain!'