In my opinion, for a business organization, the most critical symptom is “idleness” because it is related to intrinsic motivation for carrying out activities. Intrinsic motivation is the key personal attribute to be looked after in order for your employees to be fully committed to the delivery of the required outcomes. So first, look for true “idleness” symptoms because “Idleness is the goal only of those who have been compulsively or anxiously busy” (Skiner). When you are working with your team, make sure that the context (schedules, assignments, team structure, etc.) will never lead one of the members to act compulsively or anxiously.
Intrinsic motivation i.e. what drives the satisfaction of our needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness, can also be reinforced or damaged by external factors. People tend to decide and act in a manner that is consistent with the system by which they get rewarded. So, here is the second important factor: performance measurement and reward systems. By the way, it is not so much a matter of management or leadership. You can do both very easily, “… you manage things and you lead people; you control things and you release people …” (Tilford). Think carefully to the side-effect of so-called genuine motivational measurement that is actually dressed as informational measurement.
A third factor is related to the organizational design of an enterprise. How do we provide enough opportunities to self-determination? Tell your employees that you are building an enterprise-ecosystem, which will allow them to reap the benefits valued by each of them. Believe me; it is not so difficult in a small business. As for large companies … “the tendency to flock together can make a person relatively blind to the benefits of interactions with those of divergent background” (Koller). Try to instil principles such as freedom of challenge (or dissent), right of opposition, of course limited by prudence and respect of individual.
Last factor to be considered is how to foster mutual adjustments without resorting to complicated governance mechanisms. Here, I agree fully with Bradberry who argues for “communication that clicks”. Observe what employees say and do, and speak openly with them about their work. I must confess that in our era of social networks, that’s a difficult challenge. The organization of work is changing tremendously (some people say we enter a post-Fordist area), so we must drop the old paradigms of command-and-control if we want to keep employees motivated and engaged. What kind of communication medium to use depends on the enterprise but it should be designed for easy and quick mutual adjustments to happen freely.
In summary, the four factors above are linked and one must pay attention to the simplicity and the clarity of the solutions. The main goal is for those solutions to remove any ambiguity in the mind of the employees who are committing to achieve the primary purpose of the organization.