What is the stuff of executive dreams? Business leaders dream of hard-hitting teams, of powerful teams, of dedicated employees. In today’s working world, teams are often fragmented. Team members are scattered over the five continents, throughout various countries, embodying various cultures, speaking various languages. This is the reality of global leadership.

The question, then, for a managing director is, “How can I successfully lead my team under these circumstances?” An essential prerequisite for a company’s growth and impact is employee engagement. Dedicated employees don’t stand around waiting for instructions. They share the thought process, act independently, assume responsibility for the health and well-being of the entire enterprise. They are not only exceptionally good at their jobs, they also nurture teamwork and the work environment.

Yet, not all employees are equally committed. Within a team or department, you will find highly dedicated employees working side by side with colleagues who may fulfil their responsibilities, but only that, and no more.

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, Germany suffers a decided lack of committed employees – a mere 16 percent, while 17 percent of employees are actively disengaged.[1] How does an actively disengaged employee behave? He seizes every opportunity to ruin you and your business.

To eliminate sabotage from the start, we approach employee engagement as a nuptial agreement. No different than in a personal context, where two people promise themselves to one another, saying “Yes, I do!” You, the boss or superior, expect your future employee to enter an emotional relationship with you. You expect him to declare, “Yes! I love this company and will remain until the end of my professional life do us part.”

When taking this approach to employee engagement – as an emotional commitment on both sides – then it should be directly reflected in the job description. For example, “Dear Prospective Employee, we expect you to love this company; to dedicate yourself to this company; to love your job and our customers, as we love you. We want an emotionally binding relationship. Only then, will we accept you.”

Practically applied, the manager could say to the prospective staff member, “I expect more. I expect you to work 10, 12 or 14 hours a day. I expect you to be underway five days a week, in five different countries. I expect you to burn the midnight oil, polishing your presentation until two in the morning, perfecting it for the meeting the next day.” Only a prospective employee acknowledging and (gladly) accepting these expectations should be allowed to enter the engagement and sign the employment contract.

This emotional connection is the seed that grows into a team or company. Only emotionally bonded co-workers can be brand ambassadors for your business. They express themselves with convincing positivity when talking about their employer. They earnestly represent your company and its products. They automatically strive to be better; reach for more. It is very much worth the effort. Dedicated staff members are more productive, contributing to your company’s growth, while radically reducing work accidents, staff turnover and absenteeism.


An excerpt from the book “Leadership Is Not an Illusion – A wealth of adventure, experiences and stories to tell 20 years of consultancy practice” written by Gianni, Jan & Marcello Liscia, 2020

[1] Cf. Gallup Inc., State of the Global Workspace, 2017.