What to Do About Employees Who Don’t Care

by Jennifer Miller on March 20, 2012

in Leadership

I’ve never been much for watching sports. So when my kids started playing organized athletics, I was not very enthused. A friend who has already been there, done that told me “it’ll be different when you’re watching your own kid.”

She’s right.


When it’s my kid (and by extension, the other kids on the team), it is different. The play on the field matters to me because it involves someone I care about. There’s a level of investment that just can’t be replicated when I’m watching strangers.

As a leader, how do you get that same type of emotional investment with members of your team?

Smart leaders know that creating a sense of investment is important. It starts with getting all employees on board with a vision. From there, leaders progress to the daily work of keeping that vision alive.

Here’s a challenge to sustaining shared vision: no matter how compelling a team’s vision, some folks don’t care. They’re just not that invested.

It’s not their kid on the ball field.

It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad leader or that they’re a slacker employee. These folks have simply found themselves in a place where the work no longer matters.

As a leader, it can be difficult to understand why someone doesn’t value something you and your team worked so hard to create. It would be easy to fall into the trap of prescribing what the disinterested people “should” do. That’s not productive. A leader’s goal in a situation like this should be to find another place for unenthusiastic employees– a place where they will feel invested.

Don’t be too quick to write off these employees. That “other place” need not be outside your company. With a change of venue, people can transform from “ho hum” to “Go, team!” if they are plugged into what matters to them. A character-based leader seeks a solution that benefits both the team and the individual employee.

Ask yourself:

Who on my team isn’t invested in the team’s success? As the team leader, what can I do to help influence a different outcome?




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