Planned Disengagement

January 29 2017
By: Terry L. Mathis

Almost every leader and safety professional I meet wants workers to become more engaged and self-directed, and form a great safety culture of interaction and reinforcement. However, none of them talk to me about how management plans to disengage as the workers progress. Disengagement is a critical, and often overlooked, step in organizational development. Micromanagement is the archenemy of independence and interdependence. Workers who continue to be told what to do, step by step, tend to do as they are told rather than learning to direct themselves. As the workforce matures, managers and supervisors need to back off.

planned disengagement

The same is true of consultants and advisors; but this will probably never be the practice. Consultants tend to foster ongoing dependency rather than disengage because it creates a continuous stream of revenue. They like to keep their clients as clients. That is great if they continue to add value, but not if they simply develop dependence to maintain the status quo. Disengagement needs to be a strategic part of any progression and not an awkward afterthought.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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