Should You Tell Your Boss When You’re Not Engaged at Work?

Should You Tell Your Boss When You’re Not Engaged at Work?

by Dr. Rick Goodman on December 20, 2017

Employee engagement matters, and there are many factors that can drive it—or, conversely, diminish it. One of the primary ones is leadership. Simply put, the person you work for—your boss, manager, or team leader—can actively promote or diminish the enthusiasm you feel for your work.

This has some obvious implications for leaders, yet it also raises an interesting question for employees—to wit: If you’re not engaged with your work, should you say something to the person in charge?

Speaking Up About Employee Engagement

Unfortunately, this may be one of those scenarios where neither option is a good one. When you speak up and say something about your lack of engagement, it can certainly lead to some awkward moments. On the other hand, if you don’t say anything, nothing will change—and that’s probably even worse. It means you’ll be unengaged; your boss’ leadership style will continue to fall short; and the whole team might ultimately suffer.

One thing to keep in mind is that most leaders aren’t aware that they have an unengaging leadership style—and as such, open and honest feedback may help them to see some areas of improvement they’d otherwise miss.

Yes, it might be a challenging thing to bring up—but in the end, it can benefit everyone.

Talking to Your Boss About Employee Engagement

So how can you address the issue? Here are a few suggestions:

Ask your boss to help you meet your full potential. It’s important to phrase it this way because it reminds your boss that this isn’t just a matter of your personal feelings; it has a real, bottom-line effect on productivity and ROI.

Request a new challenge. Make it clear to your boss that you’re not looking for a pep rally; you’re looking to be stretched. Just don’t ask unless you’re ready to tackle a big new project, because that may be what you get!

Ask your boss to explain how your role fits in with the big picture. Sometimes, what matters most is just being reminded of the mission.

Tell your boss that your work is exhausting. Your employer cannot reasonably expect you to maintain self-motivation at all times; sometimes the leader needs to step in and help push people forward.

Start a Conversation About Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is something worth being candid about—especially when your own workplace is coming up short. I’d love to lend my coaching skills here; reach out to me to learn more about boosting employee engagement in the workplace! Contact me at or call 888-267-6098.

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Dr. Rick GoodmanShould You Tell Your Boss When You’re Not Engaged at Work?