Team Engagement: A Proposed Checklist for Managers

Feb 7, 2024
Kate Walton

Hello from Steyer!

I’m still thinking about employee engagement—specifically, why this critical measure has, on average at U.S. companies, been so low for so long.


As I pondered this, I drew an image showing where I think managers of highly engaged teams tend to operate. See the star: they’re not micromanagers, but they’re also not hands-off. They flex to accommodate the personal needs of the people they work with—but generally speaking, they have a high bar and most of their work energy goes to helping the team clear that bar.

I was explaining all this to my 14-year-old (his fault, really, for wandering into my office), and he asked me how someone would know if they were operating in that sweet spot. Here’s my 5-point checklist for managers:

  1. You know and care about your team members.
  2. You feel known and cared about by your team members.
  3. Your team members can articulate the group’s goals—and they care about reaching them.
  4. Each team member knows exactly what’s expected from them—and they care about how they’re doing against those expectations.
  5. It’s not a cult. Peers aim to delight their peers, not just the organization’s leaders.

What do you think? Are these the signs of a team with at least better-than-average engagement? What did I get wrong? What did I miss? To weigh in, please email me at


P.S. Yes, I know the lavender is illegible! These are my actual scribbles from my actual notebook, hence the swearing. Top left: “Sink or swim—high churn.” Bottom left: “People stay for a while (because their lives work) but don’t ultimately work out.” Top right: “Cramps growth—of org and of stars.” Bottom right: “Cramps growth—of org and of leaders.”


Image credit: Steyer Content