When you step back and observe a lot of workplaces you get to see a common and pretty uncomfortable picture. Tired people dragging themselves into work wearing forced enthusiasm and motivated to do just enough work to get by. Caffeine, free biscuits and a bitch about work colleagues are the distinctive highlights of the day.
How the hell did it get to this?
Sure there are some people that feel great about their work, usually people that are in leadership roles or who have made peace with the fact that this is the job for them. But the great majority are holding their frustration and dissatisfaction in, thinking no one can see it and that it isn’t a problem, after all isn’t that what everyone else is feeling.
I can see it and it alarms me. When did we collectively give up? When did we decide work, instead of being a place that enhances our life, is a place that we die a little inside every time we show up? Dramatic…Yes. So let me back it up with some horrendous statistics that justify my dramatic tone.
Businesses that have disconnected staff are:
· 4 times more likely to have good staff leave
· Bring in 2 times less income
· Have 80% of staff unwilling to say positive things about their employer
· 8 times more likely to have a safety incident requiring time off
· Suffer a 30% to 50% loss in productivity
And then there’s the human impact of a disconnected employee:
· 43% will treat their families and friends poorly
· 36% have been diagnosed with high blood pressure
· 45% will want to leave causing them additional stress
· 2 times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression
So what’s the one thing all people leaders can do to start to turn these problems around? Improve the relationship between themselves and their direct reports.
The quality of the relationship between the manager and their direct reports is the number one factor in improving employee engagement and connection.
This is not about being “nicer”: you can’t be “nice” and do your leadership job because that means you won’t be able to deal with conflict and problems. You can, however, be kind in any situation.
When I work on culture change and employee engagement I focus heavily on mentoring the leaders in engagement. Some of what I focus on goes too deep to translate into a few dot points, but there are simple practices that anyone of us can decide to make part of the way we work and lead.
· Learn to listen to what is being said without rushing to say what you think
· Make yourself accessible and easy to talk to
· Stay calm always (this one challenges me the most)
· Lighten up and laugh – we are all in this together
· Care about your peoples’ well being
Later this week I’ll be launching my first online course called Employ, Lead, Grow. It’s a 6 week online course, written by me, to help people leaders to get confident that their teams are working towards making their businesses profitable. More information coming through soon.
See ya next week,
“No matter how big and tough a problem may be, get rid of confusion by taking one little step toward solution. Do something.” George Nordenholt
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