Sociology Index

EXECUTIVE DISENGAGEMENT

Executive disengagement is the custom by which lower level employees assume that executives are best left uninformed of certain decisions and actions of employees, or the assumption that executives cannot be legally expected to have complete control over their individual staff. An USA Today article described an emerging problem of “executive disengagement.” According to a Gallup poll, a third or more of top executives find themselves mentally and emotionally disengaged from their work and the people in their organizations. They exhibit signs of disinterest in what they do, at least partly because they aren’t necessarily consulted on decisions made by those they direct. The article also pointed out that many at the top of organizations get little positive feedback (other than financial) for their accomplishments.

Countering CEO Disengagement in the Age of TARP - businessweek.com
The signs of CEO disengagement are fairly easy to identify, says Neil Jacobs, head of Northeast America for YSC, a global business psychology consulting firm in New York. "Body language tells you what mode your CEO is in," says Jacobs. "Look at posture and whether the CEO sounds defeated in meetings." Indeed, CEOs who seem uncharacteristically scared or oversensitive to criticism may be heading for a disengagement crisis. You may notice the CEO seems psychologically disconnected as a team member. When CEOs become disengaged, "the shift of their leadership starts to move to leading more for themselves than for the organization," says Jacobs. "Engaged CEOs will use the word 'we' a lot. They show honesty. They'll say, 'I'm the head of this organization, and we're going to get through this.'"

Besides being lonely at the top, it can be 'disengaging' as well Like rank and file, CEOs can quit caring about their jobs Bored, burned-out executives can undermine an entire company
By Del Jones, USA TODAY
Gallup Organization uses a dozen questions called the Q12 to predict what it has coined employee engagement, questions about such statements as "I know what is expected of me at work," and "I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day."