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Embracing Engagement

Updated: Feb 25

In my recent post on The Foundation of Leadership, I discussed what a combination of research, neuroscience and philosophy have determined to be the key elements of leadership. This has been synthesised by The Performance Learning Company’s Bob Gibbon into The Leadership Flywheel, where the leader engages powerfully with ‘followers’ to establish a belief in ‘you’ (i.e. the followers believe in the leader), a belief in ‘it’ (the followers buying into the leader’s vision) and a belief in themselves to be able to reach the destination (i.e. the followers mastering the skills required to successfully complete the journey).

The Leadership Flywheel: © The Performance Learning Company

In order to achieve a desired outcome, it is vital that the leader considers the journey from the follower’s perspective and provides the environment that energises and enables the follower to move along, and successfully complete, the journey. The Leadership Flywheel embraces this by engaging the follower as a ‘whole person’ – the heart, the mind, the spirit and the body. This level of consideration encourages the follower to shift from a feeling of not wanting to do something or having to comply with the requirement to do something, to developing the desire to actually want to take on the challenge and do it in an enthusiastic manner.


Gallup’s research has shown that the majority of employees do not feel engaged at work; therefore, companies who are able to achieve engagement will have a distinct advantage over the majority. According to Gallup’s 2017 ‘State of the Global Workplace’ report, only 11% of the UK workforce is engaged, with 68% disengaged and 21% actively disengaged; that is, they are actively acting against their organisation’s intended culture and, whether intentionally or not, they are damaging the company. This may manifest through taking up more of managers’ time, accounting for more defects in goods, missing more days of work and behaving in a way that brings others down with them.


To emphasise the financial benefit of engagement, the same Gallup report states that ‘business units in the top quartile of our global employee engagement database are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those in the bottom quartile.’ In our Performance Leadership Foundations course, we use The Follower’s Flywheel to help you learn to increase the engagement of the follower.


The Follower's Flywheel: © The Performance Learning Company

In mirroring The Leadership Flywheel, The Follower’s Flywheel retains the four elements of engaging the whole person, plus the three beliefs of The Leadership Flywheel. In addition, it also includes a key question a follower would ask themselves at each stage of their journey:


  • Do I feel this person (the leader) cares about me enough to keep me safe and happy?

  • Is the end game sufficiently inspiring and does the journey make logical sense?

  • Can I see and commit to the next few steps?

  • Do I believe in my ability to complete this?


When the follower can answer ‘yes’ to each question, they will more willingly commit to working to complete that stage of the process and continue their journey to achieving the vision.


Performance Leadership Foundations is designed to provide the tools and frameworks that help build the mindset and skillset you need to advance on your leadership journey. To find out more about the programme, you can see the course outcomes and curriculum here.


Performance Leadership Foundations is a practice-based development programme that will give you the strong foundation you need to become a more successful leader.

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