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Are we killing staff engagement by being mediocre?

Staff engagement mediocre

By John Lechner

Mediocre management means poor staff engagement, low happiness at work and so much more.

Today, as managers and business owners we live in a business world that encourages us to be mediocre.  We have too many rules, regulations and red tape, so much so that instead of focusing on a great team and staff engagement we focus on the wrong things.

Instead of having amazing vision, building a great team and market leading products or services, we get stuck.

We get stuck trying to please the unpleaseable!

We waste valuable time and energy trying to make the people that matter the least to us happy. We feed their fears and anxiety while creating more problems.

Too many times has this approach meant that amazing businesses and organisations with fantastic missions, visions and goals suffer in an attempt to placate the mediocre.

I have two stories about this from my career where wonderful organisations with the best mission, vision and goals fell far too short. Each striving to help the community and the disadvantaged became mediocre because of the focus on the wrong people.

The Toxic Manager

In this case the solution was simple, this manager needed to be fired, and quickly. Instead of doing this swiftly and decisively it took over 18 months and was couched in terms of a restructure.

  • It demoralised the entire workforce, 200 plus people
  • It left irreparable damage to the culture of the organisation
  • Dozens of wonderful people were lost to the organisation
  • The cost to the organisation was easily 7 figures perhaps 8.


Simply today we have a culture that encourages us to pander to the mediocre. 

What if instead, we as managers or business owners focused our energies on helping the good become great, the excellent be awesome and most importantly. We created and fostered a culture that focused on the positive.

Focus on growth, innovation and creativity every day. Not just in the days when we are trying to repair the damage or during your "annual retreat" every single day!

Your focus as a business owner or manager should be on creating a positive culture that rewards the extraordinary rather than bowing to the fears of the mediocre.

Let me tell you the second story.

Timid Leaders

This demonstrates how timid leaders dig far bigger holes.

I was working in a great organisation, a trusted and respected brand worldwide. Early on I saw that when there was an all staff meeting called, especially when we had a day or two notice, several things happened.

People would go on sick leave, they became anxious and even just walked out of the office without explanation.

I didn't get it until someone explained it to me.

Not once but twice in the recent history of this organisation a compulsory all staff meeting was called.

During the meeting the staff were told that there would be some redundancies. Instead of informing each person individually with dignity and respect, they took the cowards option.

Staff were told that when they returned to their desks if there was an envelope on it they had lost their jobs.

They then had 10 minutes to pack up their personal items and leave or they would be escorted from the building by security.

Not a single good thing can come from actions like this. The legacy, which may still live on today decades later, is one of fear.

They instilled fear in the people they kept. The entire team was scared, all because they took the easy option for them, they bowed to their own fears.

Culture is created from the big and little things that you do.

Genuine care for your team is essential. Creating a great environment that fosters staff engagement, that encourages them to grow means not giving in to fears. Focusing on growth means trust and communication are paramount.

I am not advocating that you sack the mediocre in your team today. Though it may be necessary in time but instead.

Start by simply shifting your focus. Instead of spending your time trying to make the unpleaseable happy.

Instead focus on building the strengths of your best. ENCOURAGE GREATNESS!

Create a space where hope wins over fear and dispair.

Most importantly, create a positive culture. A culture that values innovation, creativity and growth.

If you need help to foster creativity and innovation then I would love to help. Lets sit down one on one and together we can look at the five most important strategies to create a positive culture in your organisation.

Call me on 0449 105 295 or email john@johnlechnerart.com.au I can't wait to help you and your team.


John Lechner
The Office Art Specialist

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