Do you know the early warning signs of employee disengagement? It’s easy to spot the signs once an employee is “actively disengaged.” What about the earlier signs? High-caliber leaders want to “spot it and stop it” early. Here are some significant things a high caliber leader watches for. They are the subtle signs of disengagement.

  • A “flat attitude.” Flat attitude is neither positive nor negative.  While the actively disengaged can be overtly negative, “flat attitude” is not displaying any enthusiasm or energy for anything… ever. Again, an early warning sign.
  • Not taking initiative for self-growth or development.  When an employee rarely, or even never, asks to attend a workshop, participate in a webinar, check out a resource from the lending library or is even “sick” on training days, you might have someone who is disengaged. Never asking to take on a challenging project or work on something new can also be a sign that they are checked out. While they might participate when “mandatory,” never displaying any initiative towards growth can be troubling.
  • Not attending “optional” functions or gatherings.  Obviously, not everyone will attend every gathering. However, if you have an employee who exhibits a pattern of not participating in group activities, team builders, potlucks, or other “optional” activities, it might be a sign of a more serious issue.
  • Failing to ask questions. An engaged employee is curious. An engaged employee will want to fully understand an issue or idea. A disengaged employee will assume “if you wanted them to know, you would have said something.”  This passive attitude and resulting lack of curiosity and questions, particularly when new ideas are being launched or discussed, can be an early warning sign of disengagement.

Watch for these signs. Intervene early.  Early intervention done in a non-threatening way can actually boost engagement, uncover hidden barriers to success, and reveal coaching opportunities.  Sometimes, having a leader take an interest or make an attempt to find out more about the above behaviors can be enough to stop the downward slide to active disengagement and might even be a boost towards engagement.

For more tools to become a high caliber leader listen to this webinar called “High-Caliber Communication: Chart a Career By Choice, Not Chance?”  Download the on-demand version now.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.