Some of the organizations I work with are facing an interesting paradox: On the one hand the culture/satisfaction survey results aren’t where management would like to see them. On the other hand, the feedback I’m receiving says that employees care deeply about the organization and its success.
How can these two seemingly opposite data points co-exist? And what can management do to improve the situation?
The vast majority of employees care deeply about the success of the company they work for. Their personal identity is at least partially linked to their employer. Management often falls into the trap of thinking that employees only care about a paycheck when in fact most employees place a higher value on appreciation for their contribution, knowing what is going on in the organization and having their leader show some personal interest in them.
Organizations can systematically demotivate their staff by focusing only on negatives, withholding information and having supervisors and managers who are not personable and approachable.
Even when there are external pressures that are challenging the business, management has to fight the urge to hunker down, shut employees out and only focus on problems. There is a tendency for management to think that they have to shoulder the burden of soling all the problems when the employees want to be part of the solution.
In a future posting I will examine why managers and supervisors are shouldering more and more stress instead of holding employees accountable and empowering them to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.
Today’s Leadership Action Tip
- Share as much information as possible with employees. Instead of viewing information as “need to know basis only” share more and give employees a sense of the big picture.
Insist that managers and supervisors be more friendly and approachable. Overly autocratic or overly easy going managers can give the impression that employees shouldn’t raise concerns or bring solutions to problems. Leadership training can help create the right tone.
- Focus on positives instead of always on negatives. Even when the pressure mounts, the best managers and supervisors maintain a positive spirit and build on successes. Employees want to see positive actions designed to make the organization more successful.
- Avoid letting a few negative bad apples spoil the overall mood of the workgroup. Only a small percentage of employees are really negative and critical. Deal with them appropriately and avoid allowing their influence to drive management into negative mode.
Because the majority of employees care and want to see your organization succeed, management can achieve more by listening and involving employees.