Reflect for a moment on how often you observe talented people in your business who fail to reach their potential. Do some people have the capability, yet choose to behave in ways that undermine their success?

Unless people choose to invest their talents and energy in their role, they are unlikely to succeed, no matter how capable they are. If the people on your team are checked out, chances are your businesses performance is suboptimal.

5 common signs people are checked out:

1. Absenteeism:

When people lack motivation, sometimes the challenge of getting out of bed and into work can feel insurmountable. Observe when people are taking an unusual amount of unplanned time off.  Also look for common patterns such as regularly been away on either side of the weekend.

2. Lack of discretionary effort:

When people start doing only as much as they feel they have to, chances are they are disengaged.  People who are fully invested in their role voluntarily go the extra mile, don’t have to be asked to support other people on the team, and willingly strive to reach goals or deadlines.

3. Absence of teamwork:

Disengaged people tend to focus on what they need to achieve and avoid participating groups. They are more likely to delegate responsibilities and fail to step forward when the team needs them to.

4. Suboptimal productivity:

Notice how focused people are and how well they use their time and resources to get their work done. Working at a slower than reasonable rate, being distracted and disorganised can indicate that someone no longer has the desire to do their job well.

5. Poor quality work:

It’s not uncommon for people with the requisite skills, knowledge, and experience to fail to deliver a reasonable standard of output. Errors, incomplete actions, mediocre presentation, and lack of follow through are common performance challenges that arise when people check out.

Lifting engagement takes a deliberate approach focused on each individual and your team as a whole.  While the steps you take as a leader are critical, so to is each individual’s willingness to work toward a better standard of contribution. Expect every member of your team to take ownership for his or her own success and happiness at work. Unless people have the desire to reengage and come with you on a journey, they wont. Put simply if people don’t want to be there, they need to move on.

5 steps to take when your team is checked out:

1. Talk to people:

Take the time to talk to each person on your team about how they feel within their role, and the business. Begin by exploring the extent to which people enjoy their job and its inherent tasks or requirements. It’s common to meet people who simply don’t like what they do. Maintaining engagement and performance in a role we don’t enjoy is difficult for anyone.

2. Energise your team’s spirit:

Understand the things that energise and drain your team of energy. When people have plenty of positive energy in reserve they are more likely to engage with effective thoughts, emotions, and ways of behaving. When drained of energy however, most people are likely to respond in ways that undermine success.

3. Share an inspiring vision for the future:

Help people to see a clear picture of the future, and inspire them to want to be a part of it by sharing what you believe the team is capable of achieving and why. When people see little point in what they are doing or hope of success, they are likely to disengage.

4. Influence a strong sense of personal value:

How we feel about ourselves as well as how we believe other people feel about us plays a significant role in energising our spirit and influencing our engagement. When people feel valued, capable, and respected they are more likely to give things a go. When they feel disrespected or undervalued, they are more likely to minimise their contribution. Reward and recognise people—even a pat on the back can make a big difference.

5. Value relationships:

Build an environment in which people are expected to nurture healthy relationships that allow the team to thrive. When people trust and respect their peers, they are more likely to feel emotionally invested in their job. Consider carefully the people you invite to join your team and the impact they are likely to have on the group. Take action to address conflicts that arise and behaviours that adversely impact how people feel about coming to work.