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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, March 04, 2018 1:00 am

Majority in workplace don't feel engaged

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Engage and empower. You're bound to get more from the people who are following you.

It's all about creating more conducive cultures, according to Amir Ghannad, a leadership development specialist.

“Many times we fail to create the right kind of culture in the workplace,” Ghannad said, during an interview with Nicole Farkouh. “We might have all kinds of worthy causes we're going for ... but you see that the culture of the organization is that everybody is deflated and they're not really at their best.”

Ghannad is one of dozens Farkouh, a consultant in California, interviewed as part of her Visionary Leaders Summit. Videos of the 25-minute interviews were shared over a three-week period that ended Friday.

Ghannad is the author of “The Transformative Leader: Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary,” released in 2016.

He said leaders have to create “high-commitment cultures” – places where people feel their opinions are valued, that they're involved and engaged, “things that feel very natural to us.”

“We all have the capacity to be deeply passionate and committed to something we care about,” Ghannad said. Instead, people “often get beat down.”

Citing statistics that are consistent in various studies and surveys, Ghannad said just 30 percent of people in organizations feel engaged.

Ninety-nine percent of people in an organization – even if they have a title – don't consider themselves leaders. They often talk about what they would do if they were the CEO. But even chief executives, he said, have bosses – they're known as the board of directors.

Asked how people can manage when they're part of an organization where they feel squelched, Ghannad said people need to develop a personal plan to achieve. That usually involves working within your circle of influence. Too many people get off the court and complain, talking about the people still in the game.

While the responsibility for culture generally falls to leadership, Ghannad acknowledged personal accountability. “We all own our own morale,” he said.

'The Culture Code'

Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of “The Talent Code,” has written a book that might also help leaders improve their organizational culture.

“The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups,” was published Jan. 30.

Coyle examines organizations from the Navy to an NBA team to determine what helps lead to success. “He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind,” according to book synopsis on Amazon.

“The Culture Code offers a road map for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded,” the synopsis said. “Culture is not something you are – it's something you do.”

Hardest working

Friday was Employee Appreciation Day, and Wallethub, a personal finance website, released its report on the 2018 Hardest-Working Cities in America.

To determine where Americans work the hardest, WalletHub said in a news release that it compared the 116 largest cities across nine key metrics. The data set ranges from employment rate to average hours worked per week to share of workers with multiple jobs.

Six of the top 20 cities were in California, with San Francisco topping the list, followed by Fremont. Chicago was the only Midwest city to make the list, ranked at No. 10. Fort Wayne ranked 88.

A couple of other findings:

• New York has the longest hours worked per week, 40.3, which is 2.8 times longer than in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the city with the shortest at 14.6.

• Anchorage, Alaska, has the longest average commute time, 41.0 minutes, which is 1.2 times longer than in Burlington, Vermont, the city with the shortest at 33.5 minutes.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at