Disengagement is a Workforce Crisis: How to Solve It

By Rosemary Bova '71SW of the Columbia Career Coaches Network

Disengagement has become a crisis in the American workforce—from top managers to hourly employees. Its impact is felt from personal to global levels. I offer a proven GPS that can change the course of this crisis and completely eradicate it.  

This system consists of four tools that will vastly improve personal and professional experiences and job effectiveness. Similarly, when those in managerial positions implement just some of these elements, not only will managers themselves benefit, but the entire institution and its bottom line will, as well.

Distinguishing Management, Leadership, and Supervision

Accountable managerial leadership is critical to employee and business success. Management's role is to ensure the organization's work gets done in the best way possible. Differentiating between management and leadership is important. A strong leader seeks to understand his/her staff's behaviors and personalities in order to attain success. Supervision is also important, but it does not carry the weight or authority of a managerial role. Such semantics and distinctions are important.

Effective Task Assigning Equals Quality, Quantity, within Time and Resource Allocations (ETA=QQT/R)

Strong managers must assign tasks effectively and cleverly. Quality, quantity, completion time, and necessary resources are all important for effective employee task assignment. This involves open communication between manager and employee. When understood by both managers and workers, this formula eliminates confusion and misunderstanding of the tasks to be completed.

Self Awareness

In order to live a fulfilling life, individuals must understand their own capability and recognize desires and needs. It is equally important we understand how our actions and behaviors impact others. Self-knowledge is a powerful tool and a critical component of a successful employee if this employee is to help a business also achieve success.

Self Care

Our world can feel overwhelming and exhausting. Add work into the fold, and along comes a host of other issues to confront daily. Self-care—exercise, deliberate breathing techniques, mindfulness, self-honesty, and nurturing—is critical to our overall well-being. This includes our daily work and how we handle complex social and professional situations. If employees keep positive, so too does a business thrive.

Each of the four tools can stand alone, but utilized together they form a well-oiled system that can and will eliminate employee disengagement once and for all. Consider the tools as building blocks of an empowered, innovative, and creative workforce AND foundational pillars for profitable, successful, and socially-conscious businesses. Further reflection and internalizing of the details of these tools will truly help employees and business leaders reinvigorate themselves, their businesses and the workforce.

Take personal action. Recognize there is a better way to build work systems. Basic knowledge and tools, self-reflection, self-assessment, and courage are required of workers at all levels, in all industries and businesses of all sizes.


Rosemary Bova has 25 years experience as an executive/career coach and an organization design and development consultant. Her clients include executives in Fortune 500 companies, not for profit organizations, entrepreneurs, and individuals. She is equally comfortable interviewing people in C Suite roles as she is talking to those on the shop floor. Her company, Bova Enterprises, specializes in corporate human systems development -- accountable managerial leadership, team development, and individual career strategy formulation. Bova has written more than 50 blog posts on building engaged organizations. Bova received a Masters Degree from Columbia's School of Social Work and completed the Organization and Systems Development Program at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Learn more about her here.

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