Employee Engagement: Engage Through Connection Not Status #Peopleskills

Employee Engagement: Leaders Are You Connecting to Engage Employees?

Employee Engagement: Image is Red Carpet Roped Off

Employee Engagement: Engage Through Connection Not Status. Image via Istock.com.

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I write this very short post to highlight a practice that can disengage employees rather than engage them. It is an unwelcome surprise to most leaders when it suddenly backfires. What is it?


Constant references to high status experts and publications!


When leaders always quote high status sources and ask for status sources before making most decisions, employee engagement suffers. 

The message to employees is:

  • You don’t matter nor make a difference.
  • Be super careful.
  • Ideas from status sources are far more important than your ideas.

Employee Engagement: Connect Through People Skills Not Status

I am not suggesting you eliminate all access and references to experts and status publications. The key here is to make sure that your employee engagement efforts are just as strong as any references to other highly valued resources.

Connect with your employees through people skills to ensure you engage their ideas. Otherwise your message is “I care only about the experts’ views.” It ropes the employees off. It excludes them instead of including them.

You can prevent this problem from ruining your employee engagement with some self-awareness.

  1. How often do you quote expert and high status publications?
  2. Why do you do it? Because it makes you feel safe or important?
  3. How often do you engage employees ideas and critical thinking? Could you do it more or better?

The goal here is balance. Connect with your employees. Mentor them. Inspire them. Create the culture that they matter! Engage the talent you hired.

As you do that, you will find that they will value experts and high status sources as much as you do.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Employee Engagement: 4 Clear Steps to Appreciate & Recognize

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

8 Responses to “Employee Engagement: Engage Through Connection Not Status #Peopleskills”

  1. Dan says:

    Well said, Kate. Too many “experts” convinces people that their ideas aren’t to be trusted and will not be heard. Let’s have more “What do you think?” and “What are you seeing?” conversations!

    All the best

    • Kate Nasser says:

      AND have the experts interacting with the teams discussing “what do you think” and “What are you seeing?” It is an incredible difference!

      Thank you Dan … you always add value to these posts.

      Grateful and looking forward to more from you!

  2. Carl says:

    Good advice Kate – another thing that occurred to me as I read your thoughts, was that when we quote ‘higher sources’, it makes it much more difficult for anyone to challenge the strategy or program. I saw this a lot in my past profession where leaders would attend a conference or seminar and return with the ‘latest and greatest’ program that promised huge benefits. When it didn’t turn out quite like they thought, obviously, it was because front line and middle management weren’t doing their jobs.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Oh Carl,
      What a great analogy. Such a classic mistake that some leaders make — gather expert views, tell their teams to “do it”, and then wonder why it didn’t work OR worse blame the teams.

      Experts views are valuable when the expert can interact with the teams to understand the reality and blend their expertise with the teams insights.

      So pleased you added this angle to the post!

      Warmest wishes of thanks,

  3. Cheyserr says:

    I totally agree with you Kate. How you engage your employees should also be based on your employees character and values, as well as their differences. We can use the “high status sources” as a guide but following exactly what they say also means we are dehumanizing our employees capacity to have views on how they can contribute to the success of the organization.

    I’m working on an outsource contact center here in the Philippines but I report directly to our headquarters at Utah. One problem that we encountered at first was how to fuse the values and mission of our company to our outsourced employee here in the Philippines and other centers especially about the differences in culture. Our executives then closely examined the needs not just of the agents but the needs of their families and community as well. They started to educate the employees of the different aspects of culture around the world. That was the time we learned to have a common goal and purpose to not only serve our clients but serve our community as well. If you want to read the entire blog, here’s the link, http://www.thecrmprocess.com/2013/07/08/managing-multi-cultural-call-centers/#.UeBDoNKbeVM.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Cheyserr,
      Thanks so much for the example of cultural issues in employee engagement. Engagement must be with employees not “for” employees. And your example makes the application of this clear and very real. There is nothing wrong with experts — they bring knowledge and objectivity.

      When tapped as a part of engagement and change, it’s a winning approach. When used instead of true engagement, it backfires.

      Regards and thanks for your time and insight here!!

  4. Kate – we couldn’t agree more. Engagement as become increasingly important in recent years. There has been a noticeable shift in the workforce demographic to a younger, more engaged labor pool of Gen Y workers. Companies are now expected to include all employees in the decision-making process – Millennials are much more collaborative than previous generations. At our company, we have consciously tailored our corporate tools to facilitate communications between everyone on our team, giving flexibility and control to our employees while still maintaining quality management. Our recent white paper details many of these tactics: http://telusinternational.com/GenY_CRM

    Jennifer Bach
    TELUS International

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