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3 Ways to Re-Engage Half-Hearted Employees

Do you have wholehearted people in your life? 

Who do you know that is fully in or completely devoted to something? They’re the type of people who, as Thoreau once put it, “suck out all the marrow of life.” They live with passion and purpose. When they dive into something, they attack it with every bit of experience, intelligence, and dedication they have. They don’t shy away from relationships or challenges, but take them head-on and work to make the most out of them.

Make a list of those people you consider to be wholehearted. Who comes to mind?

Now, who do you know that is half-hearted? Are there people you work with who are not fully “in” or devoted to the team/organization? They tend to be those who feel like they always have one foot out – out of the relationship, the work, the team, etc.

Make a second list of those you consider to be half-hearted.

Learning Opportunities for Half-hearted People

Now it’s time to drill down to the heart of the issue: what makes the difference between wholehearted vs. half-hearted people? For those in your organization, how much of this attitude depends on them and how much do you believe depends on you as a leader or organization to cultivate?

When people are only giving half-hearted efforts, they cause direct and indirect damage to those around them, whether family, colleagues, or organizations. Their primary need is to find a way to take responsibility and re-engage with the people, world, and obligations around them. 

Unfortunately, the reason for this hesitance can derive from many places, whether it be getting burned in the past, being overburdened in other areas of life, or because they avoid giving too much of their trust and commitment to others. The following are 4 ways in which half-hearted people can learn to re-engage:

4 Areas of Accountability for the Half-Hearted

  1. Many half-hearted people need to learn to trust people more since withholding trust often indicates an untrustworthy nature yourself.
  2. In some cases they need to forgive previous leaders in past experiences before they can move forward in their present reality.
  3. Half-hearted people also usually need improvement in communication. Their tendency is to have high expectations, but not tell anyone about them because they are not invested enough to do so. However, this disconnect only causes bitterness and distance.
  4. Half-hearted people need to learn to lead themselves well. This requires being honest about faults and strengths and then applying personal accountability to spur greater investment of time and effort that will result in stronger connections with others. 

Every person harbors a different reason for being half-hearted in their pursuits and relationships, so the changes or drivers that will get them back on track may change from person to person. However, the list above provides a greater starting point for re-asserting the type of personal discipline that will spark much needed re-engagement with the life around them.

Responsibilities of the Wholehearted

It’s not just up to the half-hearted hangers-on, though. Aside from the fact that many of us – even those who seem fully invested in everything we do – will go through similar phases of life in which certain areas may receive less than our full attention; we always have a responsibility to help half-hearted people become engaged. Here are a few tips to help re-engage those co-workers, employees, or family members who seem to be checked out:

3 Ways You Can Help Re-Engage the Half-Hearted

  1. Bust through the veneer. Get inside the mind and heart and talk to the potential missed expectations or fears that keep them holding back their best effort.
  2. Lean forward, not backward. Half-hearted people have a tendency to become victims. They expect people to move away and then blame them for issues. Do the opposite. Encourage accountability and provide them with the support they need to take you up on it. Either way, you will either get them in the game or they will leave.
  3. Create an environment or atmosphere where people must be whole-hearted or the team will correct them rather than you (if you’re the leader). A whole-hearted culture won’t put up with veneer or a façade, and it’ll make the gradual slip into disengagement much harder to continue unnoticed.

The role of the leader is to create an overall cultural atmosphere that invites people to go deep and to be who they are meant to be. So lean in, set the tone with your example. Go deeper and press for a wholehearted culture. It is so much better than a shallow, half-hearted drama factory.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how half-hearted cultures affect your organization, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!