Are your Parents are to Blame for Low Employee Engagement?

For the longest time the Cleaver’s, in the popular 1950’s television show “Leave it to Beaver” was represented as the ideal American family.

June and Ward (Cleaver) were conscience parents that viewed their responsibility for instilling values to their boys (Wally and Beaver) as an duty to the world. They did’t use force or intimidate to teach the boys lessons but used verbal communication and leading by example as the methods.

June Cleaver had a very calm demeanor while she protected the boys from bad influences like Eddie Haskell. Ward Cleaver consistently supervised the behavior and moral education of the boys with a quiet dignity full of understanding.

Does that sounds like your childhood? Mine either. If you were like many the instruction you remember as a child might have been:

  • “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.”
  • “Be seen and not heard.”
  • “If I wanted your opinion, I’ll slap it out of you.”
  • “That’s no reason to cry, come here I’ll give you a reason.”
  • “Don’t talk to strangers.”
  • “Don’t say things like that.” (With no instruction on what to say)

What type of impact does that type of upbringing have on people at work?  Has that treatment (brain washing) in childhood caused many not to know how to communicate, be considerate, and build stronger relationships? Are they more dysfunctional? Since employee engagement is deeply rooted in relationships, is this lack of coaching and education from parents a contributing factor to the low levels of engagement?

I find more people have more experience with command and control parenting than Ward and June’s moral education and values building instructional parenting. Do you think the producers of the show were trying to give the television viewers a reflection of what the ideal family’s are doing or what you need to do to be an ideal family?

It appears from the conversations I have with others, the producers were trying to teach the audience parenting skills. It appears very few of us grew up with Ward and June as our parents. Do you suspect people are having problems talking about needs, feelings, and considering others before self because June and Ward were not their parents? Do you see people having problems with moral decisions and integrity because of this same issue? Do you notice that larger numbers of people are totally avoiding conflict of any type because of their lack of skills? Do you see more people intolerant of others (writing hate of others into legislation)?

Our Parents Weren’t Coached Either

It appears the kids that grew up in the 1950’s that are now our senior leaders did not get the proper coaching and instruction on how to be conscience children with high integrity. Is it surprising that we have such a huge issue with trust in leaders today? It is any wonder these people repeated than same pattern and have raised kids with these same problems? Are we building an entitlement nation? Are they to blame for the moral degradation of today’s society? Would it have happened anyway?

Now that you know will you repeat the pattern?  We all have choices to make.  For me, I choose not to blame anyone but myself as whether or not my children become assets to society.  If they don’t, you can blame me.

Do you want to break this cycle? Get your complimentary copy of Averting the Leadership Development Crisis now.

2 Responses to Are your Parents are to Blame for Low Employee Engagement?

  • This is an interesting post. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought there was low employee engagement; seems the employees often engage too much, which means work doesn’t get done and eventually feelings start getting hurt.

    I do agree with the second part of your article though, that being the sense of entitlement and the lack of trust in leaders and each other. I think that’s been snatched from us ever since Watergate and we’re not getting that evil genie back in the bottle.

    • Mitch,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. There have been several studies about low employee engagement from different sources. One recent study by Sodex states that only 31% of the workforce is engaged. Maybe those are the ones that are doing all of the work. Would you say that Watergate also caused more evil to take place? Was it already there just covered up better?

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