Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

6 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement: How “Attitude Reflects Leadership”

March 18, 2014 by Jeff James, Vice President & General Manager, Disney Institute

How important is attitude to leadership? Think of this famous quote from Remember the Titans

“Nobody plays. Yourself included. Im supposed to wear myself out for the team? What team? Nah, nah what Im gonna do is look out for myself and get mine.”

“See man, thats the worst attitude I ever heard.”

“Attitude reflects leadership…captain.” 

Actors portraying Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier on the football field in Remember the Titans spoke these specific lines, but they could just as easily have been spoken in today’s workplace.


Gallup’s 2013 report on employee engagement implies that disengaged workers are holding back the overall economy of America. Gallup reports that seven out of 10 workers in America are either actively disengaged or not engaged in their work.

But the key statistic was managers, executives and officials in these firms only have an engagement level of 36%, just 6% higher than the workforce.

Engagement reflects leadership. 

At Disney, we believe that – just like these characters in Remember the Titans - every leader is telling a story about what he or she values. That story is being told based on behaviors; so it’s critical to role model the right behaviors. If you value highly engaged teams, you must foster a highly engaging work environment, and be a highly engaged team member yourself.

Here are six characteristics of an engaging team environment. Ask yourself how you can personally role model these characteristics with your team:

  1. Clear Goals and Commitment to Team Goals
  • How will I demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to solving challenges as a team?
  1. Accountability to the Team
  • How will I demonstrate that I am personally invested and responsible to the team?
  1. Supportive Climate and Behaviors
  1. Mutual Trust and Respect
  • How will I openly share my own strengths and opportunities?
  1. Results Focus
  • How will I reward and celebrate the achievement of specific goals?
  1. Good Communication and Constructive Conflict
  • How will I engage in open and passionate debate of ideas and opinions?

In its report, Gallup states, “Gallup’s research has found that managers are primarily responsible for their employee’s engagement levels.” If this is true, we all must continually develop these skills in order to inspire employees and unleash their full potential.

How do you ensure you are an engaged leader?


Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form

Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Employee Engagement, Leadership, Leadership Engagement, Engaging Work Environment, Jeff James

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