WHAT?! My teenager got ENGAGED today!!??

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"To be engaged"; how can one phrase create such strong emotions? Whether "engaged" is used in the context as being committed to an operation, betrothed in marriage, involved in conflict or being put in gear, being engaged IS indeed, a powerful term.

In fact, I pray, DAILY, for my two teenagers( Raegan-age 19 and Alec-age 14) to be more "engaged"; having ones attention or mind or energy engaged on something important, something much more important than "talking" on their phone or playing X-box.

I discovered recently, that evidently, I am not alone.


Another disengaged American worker! Look like somebody you know?

Gallup, Inc., is a research-based, global performance-management consulting company. It was founded by George Gallup in 1935, and it became world famous for its public opinion polls. One of gallup's most recent polls, conducted late in 2013 is called "The State of the American Workplace" where according to surveys completed by American workers, it was discovered that only 30% of those American workers are actively engaged at work! And I thought as a coach and teacher, only teenagers weren't engaged! Check out the following article on the report: Most Americans NOT engaged at work!

workplace depression

The development of workplace depression has surprisingly little to do with work pressure. The sense of being treated unfairly by the boss, on the other hand, is closely associated with the risk of becoming depressed.

The actual document goes into length about the problem, including the biggest contributing factors. One of the most notable causes cited, interestingly, was the lack of leadership by workplace managers. Managers are NOT supporting, empowering and engaging their people; they are not LEADING them. What is more is that these very managers often aren't being led either. The highest leaders in the company aren't creating a culture where those managers get tools/direction to manage well; they are not being supported OR being held accountable for improving the people they are responsible for. And this universal crisis of leadership is costing us(at least at the workplace) at an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year!


"A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind." Nelson Mandela

After serving as a teacher and coach for 24 years, I would argue that this level of engagement is similar in high schools with our students and our athletes. Like workers in the workplace, they simply are NOT ENGAGED! And the lament echoed in every school in America has been, "What's wrong with these kids these days?!" But, if the gallup poll is true, we are asking the wrong question. Instead, we should be asking, "What is wrong with US…. as teachers, and coaches….as LEADERS?" For ultimately, it is OUR FAULT that our teams are not more engaged and it's high time we do something about it.


We are reading all the wrong books, visiting all the wrong websites, and listening to all the wrong speeches. LEADERSHIP is the biggest problem at hand, not defending the spread offense or breaking the full court press. And until we as coaches, teachers and parents start realizing this FACT, our engagement problems with our teenagers will not go away.

At SportsLeader we URGE you to start getting engaged in the expertise of leadership…..our teenager's lives depend on it!

Chris Willertz 
SportsLeader: Nobody Gets Left Behind!