The followers whom you lead on daily basis can be classified into a Engagement-Passionate 2×2 matrix. In each portion of the matrix, you will find these categories – the Detached (disengaged and cold), Fizzled (disengaged but warm), Passionless (engaged but cold), and Zealots (Engaged and Hot).
The Detached are disengaged and cold. Not only are they not bringing value and contributing, they are also dispassionate. They are probably unaware about the things that are going on around them and do not care about their leaders and the organisation, or even want to know or respond to anything regarding these issues. Like the “dog” in the BCG matrix, they will cause the organisation and its culture to sink.
The Fizzled have a passion for their work but this passion does not seem to translate into an engagement with the work and the results thereof. Perhaps their passion is in another area of work.
The Passionless are bringing value but are lacking passion for the organisation, which is likely to translate into long term disengagement. It can pose a danger because they can be poached if they discover a passion somewhere else. And because of their competence, they are likely to also pull others along should they leave.
The Zealots are very much like evangelists. Not only do they bring value of the organisation, they feel strongly about their organisation and the leaders, and align their actions accordingly. Not only are they eager, they are energetic and can be very influential. They can care sufficiently to invest some of their personal resources (time, money, energy) to make a difference to the organisation and its people.
Implications for managers/leaders:
There are 3 Rs that we can employ when dealing with different types of followers: Retrain, Rejuvenate, and Retire.
Retrain the Fizzled; i.e. those who are disengaged and unable to bring the necessary value to the table, but yet, are passionate about work.
Rejuvenate the Passionless; i.e. those who are engaged but are lack passion and drive. Particularly if they have lost the zeal along the way.
Retire the Detached where appropriate; this is self-explanatory – they are like organisational leeches and will take up your time and energy in trying to kick a dead horse. Like gangrene, they can affect the organisational culture and sap its energy when people are trying to move things forward.
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