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Leadership Development and Employee Engagement

From Reddit


There’s a picture on Reddit of a young CEO washing dishes after treating his staff to lunch. One of his employees crowed, “… and that’s why I love my job.”

Was it the food or the dish washing? Maybe a bit of both. But more than likely, it was the humanity of the guy at the top who was generous enough to foot the bill for lunch and humble enough to wash up afterwards.

This was more than just a photo opp—you know, a PR stunt to impress stockholders, and build goodwill within the community. This is an incidental picture of a monumental change. It reflects a seismic shift in the underpinnings of the American workplace that was triggered by COVID-19.

Zoetis’s CEO  Kristin Peck as quoted in Fortune Magazine: “What the pandemic did was make everybody realize we were all in the same storm, but our boats were quite different,” says Peck. “We had to become very clear about the importance of listening to people, and understanding their needs, and being flexible.”

“Can you hear me now?”

Twenty years later, this Verizon Wireless slogan could be the anthem cry of the American workforce today. That’s because employees are demanding to be heard and leaders have to learn how to listen actively.

Active listening means providing access to your workspace and your head space. It means allocating time and energy to a subordinate without using their subordinate status as a weapon. It means assigning value to that person as if they matter, at least for a few minutes;  and then processing what they said like it actually matters over the long term. It also requires being fully present and offering honest feedback. 

But what a minute! That’s what workers are expected to do, not their bosses, right? Not any more! Now the tables have turned and active listening must become a part of the C-Suite leadership tool kit because…

…Employee engagement matters!

 Gradually and sometimes grudgingly, corporate leaders are beginning to understand that a great employee experience makes for a great customer or client experience. And full engagement is the first step toward a great employee experience, a process which the pandemic has also turned on its head. Whether your company offers goods or services, the staff has stepped from behind the curtain and is now center stage.

Purpose-driven employees

The more tumultuous daily life became, employees began to question both the tumult and the value of daily life itself. What was the point? Did their lives matter or make a positive difference? There needed to be a point for them to keep work, to keep living. They wanted their lives to have a point, a meaning, a purpose. Otherwise, why bother!

Empathy-driven employers

Today, leadership development must be built on a foundation of genuine human empathy and relatability. Employers need to understand what  employees care about away from the office. What drives them? How meaningful is their work to them and to you? Do your core values match theirs? How fully is your corporate culture embraced by your staff from the top down?

The bottom line is that your bottom line is no longer driven by the mandates and dictates of the C-Suite denizens. If you’re at the top of the food chain, look down because that’s where your power really lies. In other words, engaging the bottom of the food chain will boost your bottom line.

emt respondersHolistic leadership starts at the top

Today, a leader’s engagement of subordinates is about more than inspiring them to clamor up the corporate ladder without regard for the damage they inflict on their colleagues. Today, casualties matter. And preventing such casualties is a sign of  leadership strength instead of weakness.

Corporate engagement is an emotional contact sport. Think: one-on-one mentoring, coaching, and teaching. This is the organic machinery that creates and runs top-performing teams. Helping to make human resources more human and humane—that’s’ the new team building strategy.

And it starts at the top—with you. Self-awareness and self-reflection are the first steps leaders must take before they can lead anyone anywhere. It may sound daunting in light of all the other things a leader has to handle. And indeed it is daunting, but it’s doable with the right resources, tools, and training.

So let’s get started.

Holiday Team Building Can Heal

The holidays are fast approaching and no doubt you and your staff could use a big dose of cheer and glad tidings. Struggles, trials, wins, and losses. You’ve all been through so much together this year. Perhaps the greatest gift that you can give yourself and your staff  may be a full day of  unity, harmony, and fellowship. How? Through a charitable giving workshop. Why? Because charity and holiday team building can heal.

Virtual trivia games, cook-offs, Olympic competitions, and movie nights. On-site scavenger hunts, potluck dinners, ugly sweater competitions, and karaoke. All of these fantastic activities can provide a momentary escape from reality—a temporary antidote to the pandemic. But if what you seek is lasting relief, holiday team building through charitable giving may be the ultimate cure-all. 

Harsh realities

In study after study and survey after survey, millions of American employees have reported being stressed and depressed.  As a result, they have less energy and little interest in social, non-work related activities. Many suffer insomnia—tossing and turning from anxiety about current family crises and  future financial woes. Sadly, some have turned to alcohol and drug use in order to cope. And the emotional strain has increased instances of reported domestic violence against spouses, partners, and children. 

As their families imploded, a lot of workers burned out and then dropped out altogether. Called “The Great Resignation,” millions of workers have quit their jobs and turned the American economy on its head.

Holiday havoc: staycations

In some communities families are still being urged to forgo holiday travel to minimize exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus. Among those who comply with this appeal, the subsequent online family feasts may give a whole new meaning to “Zoom fatigue”. And the prolonged yearning to be with absent loved ones may make this year’s holiday blues more pervasive and more severe than ever.

Holiday horrors: vacations

Overbooked, stuffy planes. Overcrowded, noisy trains. “Are we there yet” madness in the family car! Before the pandemic, holiday travel was already pretty stressful. But now it’s downright frightening no matter how or where you go. In the air there’s gridlocked airport security checks, unexpected flight cancellations, and dangerously unruly fellow passengers. And on the ground: highway road rage, random gun violence, and hysteria over Covid-19 masks, vaccines, and virus-exposure! Heaven help us!

Holiday healing: charitable giving

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . .means a little bit more!

Thus spoke the Grinch in the 1957 children’s classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” by Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. And never was a truer word spoken! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your holiday could mean a little bit more this time?  Imagine creating an oasis of holiday bliss that will linger well into the new year? Welcome to the world of charitable team building!

Charitable team building: giving and receiving

Homeless shelters and social service organizations across the country are struggling to provide basic provisions for families in their communities. Some are chronically impoverished, but others were middle income families who are suddenly victims of the pandemic’s economic impact. 

You and your colleagues can relieve some of that strain in your own hometown by spreading some much needed holiday cheer. For example, you can partner with a local restaurant and Donate-a-Dinner to a cash-strapped family, or even to some of your  favorite first responders. 

Just picture it: harvest-size tables laden with all of the traditional fare: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pies. Or, how about an assortment of non-traditional, vegan dishes like sweet potato casserole, vegan stuffing, and  sautéed Brussels sprouts? You can fashion the feast to suit any palette!

Holiday hunger games

On-site or remotely, your staff will form teams and compete in a series of activities designed to sharpen their communications skills and inspire each participant to become a real asset to their teammates. The teams’ goal: to amass the biggest and best donation.  And in partnership with a local charity, you’ll fill the bellies of grateful recipients whose hearts will be filled as well. 

But the biggest winners may be your employees. That’s because this kind of camaraderie bonds teams together professionally and personally, giving everyone a sense of belonging. And during these challenging times everyone needs to feel needed, valued, and appreciated as a company asset. 

And remember: this donation will last long after the dishes are empty. Your kindness will strengthen the hearts and boost the morale of  both givers and  receivers for a long, long time. That’s how holiday team building can heal!

Here’s What’s Great About the Great Resignation

I’m a human being….My life has value!

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!


Remember this famous war cry in the 1975 movie, “Network”? That exasperated character, Howard Beale, could easily be the poster child for the Great Resignation of 2021.

The Harvard Business reported this: “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July.”

Among other traumas and dramas ignited by COVID-19, this tumultuous revolution in the workforce may transform the face and character of Corporate America forever. 

The first salvo

According to  the Oxford Languages Dictionary, a salvo “is a simultaneous discharge of artillery or other guns in a battle….a sudden, vigorous, or aggressive act or series of acts.”

For women workers, their initial war cry was more like a long, anguished groan. They felt trapped between work demands—remote or on site—schools and day care facilities closing, and the sudden demand to oversee home-schooling. 

All of these additional pressures, along with everything else they were “naturally” expected to do became the straw that broke their backs and their hearts. And the first salvo was shot in 2020 when many of them left their jobs.

In February, 2021, CBSNEWS.COM reported that “Nearly 3 million American women have left the labor force over the past year in a coronavirus-induced exodus that reflects persistent pay inequality, undervalued work and antiquated notions of caregiving….Women, and women of color in particular, overwhelmingly occupy so-called essential jobs at nursing homes and grocery stores, for example, that require them to physically show up to work. Many are also parents with young children at home who need constant care and oversight.”

War-weary stories

Recently revealed 23 reasons why people are quitting. Here’s one: “I was in isolation with a 3-year-old and also pregnant for much of 2020. I had my second son in October and went back to work March 2021. I also started school in April. I worked for my company for 18 years—15 in management—and they said they were no longer willing to work with my school schedule, after touting themselves as a company that works with students and is ‘family friendly….”

 And a remote worker who wants to keep it that way told CNN.COM  “We all know things are bad—worse than bad—they’re crazy….It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’”

The great awakening?

While the pandemic has cost American businesses billions, the human toll may be incalculable. On the lower rungs of the industrial and corporate money-making machines, workers have long been regarded as little more than cams, coils, and cogs. Perhaps the shock of the pandemic will awaken employers to the reality that these component parts are actually human beings. Is not treating them humanely really  worth it?

What’s great about the great resignation?

As dark and oppressive as these last months have been, they’ve also shed light on a golden opportunity. Companies large and small can recast themselves, breaking the traditional mold and starting fresh. Of course, everybody knows that money still matters, but perhaps it shouldn’t matter more than the people who help make it—not any more. 

Today, what matters to employees has to matter to their employers. And what matters most to workers is that they feel valued and respected.  They don’t want to be coddled; they just want to be treated with courtesy and consideration.

Millions of American workers voted with their feet as they left their jobs in search of more rewarding employment for more supportive bosses. Leaders who facilitate professional growth; who respond to both questions and suggestions after earnest consideration. Many believe that in cases of personal or medical emergencies, accommodating the individual needs of an employee should be the compassionate rule, not the grudging exception. These seekers want to follow leaders who actually live the core values they espouse at staff meetings. 

 The great resignation and the great reset

Research by revealed, “…that employees crave investment in the human aspects of work. Employees are tired, and many are grieving. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Yes, they want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers.” 

Are you ready to reset, to regroup, to refresh? 

It’s a monumental challenge if you try to do it alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Leading through change especially through tumultuous change is  one of Magnovo’s super powers. We’re here and we’re ready if you are. 


DiSC and the Great Corporate America Reset

Is it “the great resignation,” “the great mental health crisis,” or “the great awakening”? Whatever you call what’s going on right now, it may be time for DiSC and the Great Corporate America reset.

A somber time of sober reflection

The pandemic has turned our lives upside down, compelling a lot of us to turn inward and take stock of our lives. Consider this from  “For the first time in a long time, people are asking if the work they’re doing is really valuable, ” says Credit Karma’s chief people officer Colleen McCreary. “What is the value of my  time, the impact I’m making on the world, and the sacrifice I’m making relative to other things I could be doing?” 

Invisible, replaceable, and undervalued

The stress and strain of the lockdown magnified how many employees already felt about their status at work: invisible, replaceable, and undervalued. Feeling more like a tiny, anonymous cog in a mammoth money-making machine—a nobody, going nowhere, with no sense of purpose or meaning.

And COVID-19 casualties have made a lot of us more aware of the fragility of life and of our own mortality. Even young workers are learning not to take life for granted. For many of these Millennials and GenZers, their past lives have flashed before their eyes, and they’re disappointed at what they see.

They wonder if the spirit of carpe diem is still alive! COVID has definitely inspired some people to seize the day and live their best lives while they can! So what does this mean for employers and the  workplaces where staffers spend so much of their time?

A reality check during surreal times

According to, “….The [responsibility] is on the employer to know what employees value and to be able to articulate why the work they are doing matches the value they say it is.” Of course, this could actually become a glass-half-full moment for leaders who are willing to put in the work—provided they have the right tools.

Reset your mindset

The most valuable tool is a teachable mind. Traditions are often the dried fruit of inflexible minds that are only comfortable doing everything the old way. Some traditions need to be upgraded; others dropped altogether. The ability to change your mindset when things around you change will be an invaluable asset to you as a leader. 

But, it may take a while to reset your perspective on team building, because it is now more individually-oriented than ever in the history of Corporate America. On-site or at home—where your employees are physically located is not the first order of business. Rather, developing one-on-one relationships with each employee will make it easier to rebuild your teams no matter where they are. 

DiSC: the Great Corporate America Reset Button

The second important tool you’ll need is DiSC. DiSC personality profile training helps leaders translate employee behavior so they know how to get the very best out of each person.

DiSC delineates 4 personality traits: Dominant, Influential, Supportive or Steadfast, and Conscientious. Personality profile training will teach you how to recognize these traits in each of your staff members. It’ll also provide a blueprint for professional development tailored to each one so that desirable assets are cultivated, and weaknesses are identified and improved. 

Who are you working with—really?

  • Do you know what matters most to your staff? Is it public recognition or private validation? Solid relationships among colleagues?
  • Why are they working at your company? Beyond the obvious need for a paycheck, what holds them there? 
  • What or who is their “why”?

 Insights, understanding, and acceptance

DiSC can help you see who they are and not just what they do. After all, a note of congratulations is easier to write when you know the recipient personally and what there is about them that makes you want to celebrate. 

Individual attention makes teams gel more easily because everyone feels as if they matter. And every meeting should become a touchstone of connection with individuals. It should fully engage each participant whether in-person or online.

 DiSC is like a chaperone on a blind date—it helps you break the ice and get to know your employee as a person. And it  provides filters through which you can process information about each worker that you can actually use. DiSC is designed to facilitate your cultivating a healthy professional relationship with every person, and in so doing, strengthen your entire team.

DiSC: This is how toxic corporate cultures become healthier. It’s how solid teams are built. It’s the reset button you need to move forward.

Wheelcharity: How Wheelchairs Transform Lives

Wheelcharity is truly the gift of champions for champions. That’s because these generous donors understand the power of wheelchair ownership. It’s almost impossible for most of us to fathom how wheelchairs transform lives.

Wheelchair champions

On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes….”  This was the start of what we now know as the Paralympic Games.

“Paralympic” originates from 2 Greek words:  para which means beside and the word Olympic,  which refers to the ancient city of Olympia, home of the first games. [Oh, by the way, don’t confuse these games with the Special Olympics, which are for athletes with cognitive disabilities.]

Paralympics are for competitors with physical and visual disabilities and they are “parallel to or beside” the Olympic Games. And happily they are increasing in stature and popularity.According to, the 1948  games involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in  the archery competition. In 2021,  more than 4,000 athletes vied for the gold. And those in wheelchairs competed in Rugby, Basketball, Curling, Archery, Shooting,Tennis and Table tennis, Fencing, Track and Field, Boccia!

How wheelchairs transform lives: unlimited goals!

Let’s take a look at that list again: Rugby, Basketball, Curling, Archery, Shooting,Tennis and Table tennis, Fencing, Track and Field, Boccia. Each sport requires a different set of skills, and techniques—both mental and physical. And each develops different parts of the body, enhancing hand-eye coordination, speed, agility, and muscle-memory. And yet, because of their wheelchairs these Paralympic athletes can pursue the highest level of proficiency and master everything required to become champions. No limits to their dreams. And thanks to their wheelchairs, no physical boundaries.

No wheelchair. No freedom!

Two million—that’s the estimated number of new wheelchair users every year.  And with the aging Baby Boomer population, that number will probably swell in the coming years. Sadly many of the disabled cannot afford one, which means they can’t go or see or do the things they want or need to do. Lack of mobility means a lack of personal freedom.

“Typical costs: A standard, manual wheelchair costs an average of $500, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation… A chair meant for everyday use costs between $1,000 and $2,000 depending upon the features of the chair, which can include an individualized seat, various types of wheels and a lightweight frame,” according to health.costhelper.comOf course, $500 isn’t really a lot of money, if you’ve got it. For those who can’t afford it, that’s a small fortune. 

How Wheelcharity transforms lives

Low income families, the unemployed, underemployed, uninsured, and veterans on fixed incomes—these are the members of your community who need a wheelchair but simply don’t have the money. 

A Wheelcharity Team Building workshop could be a win win for you and your disabled neighbors. Corporate social responsibility always wins a lot of  “cool points” in the community as well as your company. That is to say, your colleagues will bask in  the glow of their positive corporate image, because kindness is both professionally and personally gratifying.

During the workshop your staff will divvy up into teams and “compete” with each other to assemble their wheelchair faster and more efficiently than the others. The assembly process itself requires clear communication and quick collaboration—attributes that build strong teams. And afterwards, each team wins the “race” because their wheelchair will be donated to a member of your community who needs it. Hospitals, social service agencies, and disabled veterans organizations are always in need of such gifts and will gratefully  deliver yours to one of their constituents.

And the afterglow of success will linger among your staff as each envisions a newly mobile child whizzing up their street. Or perhaps they’ll picture  a veteran who can go to the park now or even to the store. And, of course, a prospective Paralympian may begin their journey as a world class athlete—thanks to you.

Charitable Giving and the Power of Hugs

Charitable giving and the power of hugs? This may seem like a strange combination since social distancing is now the norm. So let’s break it down.

First: the power of hugs

Believe it or not, human touch really does have healing properties! In fact, the overall  physical benefits of hugs are pretty impressive. You see,  your body is one big cocktail of hormones and other chemicals, and hugs have a huge impact on their levels.

I mean, everyone knows that hugs make you feel good. But  do you know why? It’s because hugs instantly boost your oxytocin levels!  This is a hormone known as the “love drug” because it can make you feel good all over.  According to the Concorde Career Colleges, Inc., one oxytocin-triggering embrace can heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. 

And then there’s serotonin. A tender caress can relax your muscles, ease tension, and in the process mellow your mood by increasing your serotonin levels. Hugs can also stimulate your thymus gland and balance that nervous system of yours. Just imagine: one good squeeze can overhaul your whole immune system!

And consider this: one loving hug is also the equivalent of an emotional and psychological workout. Yup! It can boost your self-esteem, facilitate self-love and self-care, and inspire trust in others.

Hugs in the form of charitable giving

Because of the pandemic, air hugs are as close as we can safely get, but, of course, that’s not enough! Fortunately there’s a remedy for those of us who long to reach out, and make emotional contact with another earthling.  Charitable giving can be another kind of embrace.

For instance, there’s nothing more huggable than a pet. Take “National Dog Day” in August.  Every social media platform was cluttered with photos of dearly loved, totally spoiled, perfectly adorable pooches [and  even a few cats]. And with good reason.

Psychologist Harold Herzog, a pet-loving professor at Western Carolina University. has studied the human-animal connection for years.  He told CNN.COM this: “… ‘Higher survival rates, fewer heart attacks, less loneliness, better blood pressure, better psychological well-being, lower rates of depression and stress levels, fewer doctor visits, increased self esteem, better sleep and more physical activity,” are just some of the recorded benefits of pet ownership….’”

Of course, dog and cat lovers still suffer from depression and loneliness like the rest of us, but at least they don’t have to do it alone! Unfortunately, what stands between some prospective pet owners and their new fur-babies is money. Because, no matter who or what the “baby” is, parenting can be expensive.

Charitable giving and the power of pets

Charitable team building workshops are a win-win for you, your staff, and members of your community.  For instance, your team could pitch in and donate a pet starter kit.  Covering that expense could make it easier for a reluctant pet parent to make that big commitment. 

Pet insurance is an actual thing now. And so are immunizations and other veterinary services. There’s the food and water dishes—and the food. Beds, blankets, pillows, and leashes. 

Even the fun stuff can add up: treats, chew toys, squeaky toys, and more treats. Of course, some of our fur-babies prefer to play with the box, instead of the fancy gift inside—but that’s what the joy of pet parenting is all about.

Your help in  bridging some of these financial hurdles will bring a pet one step closer to a lifetime of cuddles in their forever home. And you and every member of your team will feel the love, too—forever.

Emotional rescue through charitable giving 

Sometimes, a hug can save a life. Police officers, EMS, and other first responders encounter traumatized children at auto accidents, fires, and other tragedies every day. Through your charitable giving donation, you can provide some of these kids with a healing hug from a different kind of pet.

They’re called Rescue Buddies—bears, birds, mooses, fish, and other stuffed animals waiting to deliver a few healing snuggles to a frightened child. Your team can assemble these adorable toys during a Rescue Buddies charitable workshop. 

Then you’ll donate them to first responders in your community who’ll keep them on hand to give to children who need help recovering from the calamity they’ve just endured. And with every squeeze of their new toy, each child will grow stronger psychologically and emotionally.

Whether the hugs are for pets or people, each one is powerful. Your simple acts of charitable giving will strengthen the relationships among your team members and enrich your corporate culture. And it’ll turn you into a hometown hero, boosting your corporate social responsibility ratings and your overall morale.

Talk to our corporate specialists today to see how we can make you successful!