Dying with their boots on: Employee commitment

Picture by by Muzi Ntombela Backpagepix

Maritzburg United Coach, Ernst Middendorp, was recently quoted as saying if he could just get the players willing to die with their boots on. The Witness, 19/02/2021

A sports coach can say that sort of thing. Most employers would be wise to keep such thoughts to themselves. However, don’t we wish for that sort of commitment?

How do we get that sort of engagement from employees, whatever we might call it?

Not by bullying. Not with threats. Threats and bullying produce compliance if anything, not engagement.

If we want engagement, we must be the first to engage – genuinely, meaningfully and regularly.


What image do employees have of you and your management team?

They drive a nice car and sit in a comfortable office.
And they come out to moan when things go wrong.

Is that it?


How often do you walk around the office or factory floor?

When last did you give a genuine compliment?

What sort of questions do you ask?
Questions to ‘keep them on their toes’ or questions that show you are interested in their ideas and difficulties?

Your engagement with staff will encourage the sort of commitment that Middendorf wants from his team. (Let’s hope he gets it soon!)


Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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