When Alan Mulally became boss of an ailing Ford Motor Company in 2006 one of the first things he did was demand that his executives own up to their failures. He asked managers to colour-code their progress reports—ranging from green for good to red for trouble. At one early meeting he expressed astonishment at being confronted by a sea of green, even though the company had lost several billion dollars in the previous year. Ford’s recovery began only when he got his managers to admit that things weren’t entirely green.So, step 1 needs to focus on getting leaders to acknowledge their faults and to focus on their impacts rather than their intentions. This is the first objective in our leadership programs. We expose participants to an equal number of positive and negative examples around engagement and the impact of manager behaviour. Participants are asked to identify what they think are the best examples and the ones that are worst. We also ask them to identify any examples where, as a manager, they have done this themselves or something like it. They identify these anecdotes by placing a blue dot on them. The results are spectacularly conclusive. Over 75% of the blue dots are placed on the positive examples. Another way of saying this is that the participating managers consider themselves nearly four times more likely to generate positive experiences than negative ones. If this assessment were accurate it would probably be a pretty good place to work and employee engagement would be high. Unfortunately, in all four cases, employee engagement was moderate at best (between 40% and 60% of staff being ‘engaged’). Our next step is to show these leaders a tag cloud (produced using Wordle) of the tags for all the examples collected in their organisation. A tag cloud of the aggregated data is shown below. As the tag cloud shows, on average staff relate four times as many negative experiences as they do positive ones. This is almost the inverse of the managers' self-assessment. For many leaders this comes as a revelation - they need to change their behaviour for staff engagement to improve. They need to look past their intentions and focus on the impact they are having in the workplace. The data has been collected from over 250 leaders from four large organisations between 2008 and 2011.