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Employee Engagement and the Failure of Leadership

PDF Employee engagement is the single most serious issue in management today. Its apparently inexorable decline will soon spell the end of Western economies. If you cannot compete on price (and the West cannot) you must compete on creativity and quality. Without employee engagement, neither of these is possible. Employee engagement is not the result of some initiative quite detached from leadership. It is not something that someone (HR?) can take care of while line management get on with the job (which would be what exactly?) Employee engagement, when it appears, is the result of really effective leadership. The lack of employee engagement that we experience today is nothing less than a failure of leadership. The commercial organisation is the primary way that we bring together people, investment and raw materials to create economic growth, products, jobs and, equally importantly, human well-being and satisfaction. Profitability enables this social purpose. Such organisations are not for short term gains or making CEOs rich, attitudes which have brought capitalism to a crisis point. Most employees in most organisations seek to do their best, often in spite of management and its processes, many of which disengage people, add useless cost and serve only as grist to the cynics' mill. This applies equally to not-for-profit and public sector organisations. The only way is ethics. If employees are to feel engaged with a company, they need to feel proud of it. Only a company that takes a positive view of ethics can expect employees to find compelling purpose in their work. This book is about the meaning of employee engagement, the context in which employee engagement can be understood and the organisational culture required for its existence. I feel very deeply about all this. William Wordsworth said that poetry was emotion recollected in tranquillity. That is not a bad guide for prose either. However, I cannot pretend that I have always been tranquil in my writing. I start with an introduction to the nature of employee engagement and its rarity to establish what it is we are talking about and to set out the size of the problem. I proceed to describe the major causes of the lack of engagement and then seek to communicate an understanding of engagement and its context. Finally, I summarise in bullet form the message of employee engagement and what has to be done.

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