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Overcoming Leadership Disengagement (#144)

TCL Illustration 144

The Confident Leader


“Robin, I don’t feel engaged which is a problem, because I’m the leader. If I’m not engaged in what I am doing, how can I expect my team to be?” asked Sam, a top leader. Our coaching conversation uncovered something that brought unexpected relief.

““Gratitude makes optimism sustainable.”

— Michael J. Fox (American actor)

This Week’s Edition

How might focusing on what you are grateful for sustain you today and propel your leadership to the next level?

Clarify Your Thinking

Lately, I’ve been contacted by leaders seeking coaching who report feeling disengaged at work. All of them know that their engagement as the top leader is crucial to the success of the organization. They need help.

One individual described it the following way, “I feel like everything is a battle right now. Also, I don’t feel aligned with my internal team. It’s as if what matters to me doesn’t matter to them. I’m questioning their approach. I don’t think they respect the job I am doing. I question whether I even like working with them because it is so hard right now.”

It’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of managers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work and workplace. Interestingly, that’s the same level of disengagement reported by employees. As the leader goes, so goes the team.

This level of disengagement is also costing organizations tremendously. Many report decreased productivity, failure to meet expectations and greater performance errors among others. 73% of the employees who report being disengaged are actively looking for other jobs. 

Old Thinking: I’m not engaged at work. I don’t think jumping to another job will solve it, but I don’t’ know what else to do.

New Thinking: I’m disengaged. When was I most engaged at work? What factors did I control. Am I practicing those today or have I gotten away from those things that generated my past success?

Thoughts Lead to Actions

How do we solve leadership disengagement?

My conversation with Sam, a typically optimistic leader, revealed that he was not at all optimistic about the organization’s future. “Robin, the current budget cuts, company re-organization and industry headwinds are too much,” he shared. “The mountain that needs to be climbed seems insurmountable.” 

Optimism is the belief that the future can be better than today and that you can have a hand in making it so. 

In a recent interview Michael J. Fox said, “Gratitude makes optimism sustainable.” He has been suffering with Parkinsons for 30 years. Given his circumstances, I would expect him to be the least optimistic. His future is the most uncertain.

Leaders who practice being grateful get outsized returns:

  • 70% of employees would feel better about themselves it their boss were more grateful.
  • 81% of employees would work harder.
  • 93% of employees say feeling valued motivates them to do their best.
  • 53% of employees would stay at their job longer if the felt more appreciated by their boss.

Is there a way beyond today’s leadership disengagement? Let’s see. 

Step 1: Buy the .

Step 2: Read the detailed introduction related to the science behind gratitude.

Step 3: Spend five minutes per day focusing on those things for which you are grateful.

Gratitude begets optimism. Optimism produces engagement. Leadership engagement produces resilience, followership, growth and effectiveness. Sam bought his Five Minute Journal right there in the coaching session. You can buy it right now.  Enjoy the road to greater engagement.

Boost Your Performance

Michael J. Fox went on, “And if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, keep looking. Because you don’t just receive optimism. You can’t wait for things to be great and then be grateful for that. You’ve got to behave in a way that promotes that.”

I’m grateful for my team at Robin Pou, Inc. We spent some time outside the office to just play together. Check out this week’s video to see how it turned out.

#144 from Robin Pou on Vimeo.

What’s Your Opinion?

What are you grateful for? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.