Performance Management Blog

Employee Engagement – Ask versus Tell, a leadership Best Practice
To play the teambuilding game well, people need to come to agreement on many things

Employee Engagement! People make it seem as if it was some kind of action that is separate from how people should be managed, that it needs some special focus or something. Many treat it as a distinct “training program” or something, as if the manager cannot choose differently or that the normal worker needs some special treatment to feel that they are part of a workplace or part of a team or that they are working normally toward some shared goals. SOME kind of event is probably necessary to rattle the cages and get things moving more positively.

Engagement is a CHOICE and you need people to decide to do things differently AND supervisors and managers to shift their leadership styles and behaviors to ASK for more workplace involvement. Managers need to facilitate active involvement to help change the organizational culture.

The fact that the statistics on engagement are so poor is simply an indicator that we are generally treating people in the workplace pretty terribly, I think.

Gallup global engagement statistics 2022

There is simply so much wrong about the above. Why? Because the Gallup report also said this, focusing on European companies but with all the pretty poor statistics in so many regions:

gallup workplace stuff quotes about some companies good results in global workplaces

Poor leadership and poor people management. 

Some companies obviously do things differently to generate the better results. Facilitating active involvement and employee engagement offers positive impacts and improved results to workgroups and the simple process of asking versus telling is much more likely to generate buy-in and innovation than the “Tell” model of leadership, the one that generates push-back because there is no chance of ownership involvement.

  • What drives the underlying reality that, “Nobody ever washes a rental car?”
  • Why don’t the 17% of the actively unengaged workers (Gallup, 2022) care much about performance and productivity?

And why aren’t supervisors doing more to actively facilitate performance in their workplaces? The workers are not involved and there are so many things that can be done. It is about alignment and focus, about shared goals and desired outcomes.

In the past few weeks, somewhat like the COVID problem in the US, there is little online chatter about “The Great Resignation” and about workers leaving organizations. It seems we are back to pithy quotes and “improve your coaching” and similar articles that might have some peripheral attachment to issues of turnover and worker performance. You would never know that 300 people a day in the US are dying from covid, nor the reality that there is a huge issue with worker dissatisfaction worldwide. Yet there is not a lot of talk about supervisors and their leadership and how their choices impact the workplace.

Why aren’t more people engaged and feeling positive about their workplaces? 

Lots of issues but a main one is their attachment to their teammates and their respect for their supervisors. Another is generating agreement about expectations, collaboration, and plans to work together and optimize impacts and results.

Properly challenged, people DO want to be actively involved and engaged. Just ask them!

To play the teambuilding game well, people need to come to agreement on many things

So, here is a simple solution with many benefits.

Since 1993, we have been selling and supporting a board game for teambuilding, one that allows the Expedition Leader of the game to support their teams to improve collaboration and to focus the group on the choices they make about workplace performance. IF players collaborate and share information and try to work together, they generate better results. If they compete, they don’t do as well. Those messages are clear in the game play and become very clear in the debriefing, where one focuses on choices and culture.

We now have an online version of the exercise, one that parallels the proven impacts of the board game, tabletop version. We can work with your management and training teams to help your organization to use the teambuilding approach to generate more real engagement and collaboration, which will translate into measurable impacts on your organization. We can readily push the training down to make it a fun event led by supervisors but which focuses on increasing collaboration / decreasing competition and allows people to work together to generate optimal results.

We’re intentionally different than so many of the fun activities that change nothing. The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a unique and powerful teambuilding game designed to measurably improve performance and active involvement in making improvements in the workgroup culture. Its focus on collaboration is unique in the marketplace and we have decades of experience in demonstrating its effectiveness.

You can buy the game in a box and run it with a one-time cost. Or, you can work with us with the online version to do the facilitation training to run the exercise through your supervisors. Our expressed goal in the game and in our operations is, “to help teams be successful and optimize return on investment.”

Connect with us and let us share how we can help you, 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who is trying to retire!! He now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can reach Scott at

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Here is a 2-minute overview of our new online, virtual team building game:

logo for Lost Dutchman Virtual online edition




Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of the amazing Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game and the Square Wheels facilitation and engagement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced global presenter. -- You can reach Scott at and a detailed profile is here: -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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