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Engagement Starts with Your Leaders

Create a Culture of High Energy and Commitment Through the 4 Levels of Leadership

By Tom Roth

Today, most organizations experience change that comes too often and too fast, and growth that comes too slow. As a leader, you are working hard to ensure you communicate exciting strategies to propel the organization forward in the context of opportunity and growth.

The dilemma for many of you as leaders is that your employees have been through—and continue to go through—so much change and upheaval that they are questioning whether they have the energy to engage in helping to drive the organization forward. To be successful, it’s imperative that leaders create a culture of new energy and excitement—engagement—within the organization.

What Is the Leader’s Role?

When focusing on engagement, it’s important to understand who in the organization is really ready and who may need some help moving forward. During times like these, a certain pattern of behavior sets into many organizations. Generally, the leaders creating strategy are living in the future, concentrated on trends six months out. They are looking at the next quarter’s time frame. Workers primarily function in the present, concentrated on accomplishing the key tactics of the day-to-day. Many workers find it difficult to shift into the mindset of future strategy and need time to process.

As a leader, it is your job to educate the entire organization, from top down, clearly identifying the path ahead. The challenge is to continue to move forward, with your employees feeling more than just clear and confident about the strategy and direction, but also excited and invigorated about the potential. As a leader in today’s business environment, you are in the energy business—the human energy business. You are called to build a sense of engagement, helping employees realize the growth potential for the organization, the team, and themselves.

It’s important to understand what we mean by engagement. Energy, not time, is the currency of engagement. Engagement is the combination of the perception of changes and events happening around you, and the level of energy experienced. So, highly engaged people have a positive perception of changes going on around them and they put a high level of energy into their work and everything else they do.

As a leader in today's business environment, you are in the energy business—the human energy business.

Tom Roth

Tom Roth is Chief Operating Officer of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. (U.S.) and President of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. (Japan). With more than 40 years of experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions, Mr. Roth is responsible for the strategic direction and business performance of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. operations. In addition, he leads the global marketing services and R&D solutions group, which is responsible for the research and development of all solutions and position papers. Mr. Roth assists global executive leadership teams with issues related to employee engagement, leadership development, strategy alignment, and business transformation. Before assuming his current role, he was President of the global R&D and solution development groups and also served as President of Wilson Learning Corporation.

Mr. Roth has extensive experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions. He is coauthor of the book Unplugged: How Organizations Lose Their Energy and How to Get It Back, coauthor of the book Creating the High-Performance Team, and is published in numerous business publications. Mr. Roth is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and client events, presenting on a wide variety of issues including leadership, employee engagement, change, and strategy implementation.