Power and potential are lost when employees don’t care and don’t do
People who are important to the success of an organization will strive for the success of that business so long as they are treated as if they are important to its success. It is unfortunate that most corporate managers don’t view employees in that light, but more as interchangeable cogs existing only for the benefit of the company. Such an attitude, which is blatantly exhibited by many corporate bigwigs, leads to employee dissatisfaction and disincentive to apply their full talents for the benefit of the company.
In an annual employee satisfaction survey of The Conference Board it was discovered that fewer than half of U.S. workers (45%) are satisfied with their current jobs. This is the lowest recorded level in almost 25 years and comes at a time when unemployment rates remain high. One has to ask: When employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, how likely are they to be willing to put forth the extra effort to help the company be successful?
Remember the vastly popular sitcom Cheers? The show took place in a local Boston bar and explored the lives of an eclectic group of Bostonians who always ended up coming back to the same bar. Why? Because they felt like they belonged: “Everybody knows your name; everybody’s glad you came.” Having a sense of belonging made the customers feel welcome and appreciated. Have you ever had a friend come to you and ask your advice on something that was really important to them? Were you complimented that someone would think enough of you to ask your opinion regarding an issue they were encountering? When you go into a restaurant and the host greets you by name, does that make you feel good and make you want to return to the restaurant again? Of course it does.
As simple as these examples may be, they are the basis for successful leadership and motivating employees to work hard to contribute to the success of an organization. When a leader strives to make people feel welcome as a part of the group, appreciated for the value they bring, and respected for what they can contribute, then the members of the group feel wanted and important. This not only increases their satisfaction with their job, but encourages them to support the objectives of the company and what ultimately leads to a more profitable enterprise.
Many corporate leaders like to spout off about how important the employees are to the success of the company, even referring to them as “associates” or “partners.” Unfortunately, all too often, their actions belie their cozy words. The truth is that most corporate managers do not believe that employees are a business’s most important asset – they think they are!
Typical corporate managers become so wrapped up in themselves, their next bonus and moving up the ladder that they forget (or ignore) that employees are the key not only to their success as a leader but to the financial success of any business. On the other hand, selfishness leads directly to employee dissatisfaction and less-than-maximum work effort.
Successful corporate leaders have a deep, honest belief that if they and their organizations are to be successful they must create an environment that will attract and hold a group of energetic, highly motivated, satisfied employees who will go all out for the company and the leader. The secret is to create an environment that shows respect for the value of the employee, communicates openly, rewards equitably and that not only condones employee participation, but encourages it. Employees working in this type of culture will work with passion and feel a profound sense of connection with their company and their leaders.
How many of you reading this blog can honestly say that you feel that way about your current job and boss? My guess is that very few can, but it does not have to be – and should not – be that way.
If you are in a leadership position or seek to be so, your potential for success will be greatly enhanced when you recognize the importance of employees to business success and by showing that you sincerely believe this by the way you interact with them.
You will have a much better chance for success when you do things like:
- Be entirely transparent with your employees.
- Invite employee participation and input in your business decisions.
- Provide opportunity for your employees to grow and utilize the full range of their talents.
- Engage employees with ongoing open, honest and consistent communications – especially regarding goals and job performance.
- Keep your commitments and promises made—always.
- Constantly take actions that demonstrate your view of employees as assets not mindless cogs.
Leaders who adopt this type of mentality and approach are – as we all know – clearly in the minority. But they are also in another minority, the minority of truly successful leaders because they have created an environment that fosters employee job satisfaction. From that basis springs genuine, wholehearted effort and success.
And the Moral of the Story …
Corporate managers will often bemoan the fact that most employees are not “self-starters” and need rules, regulations and close supervision in order to get them to do their job. What these managers don’t recognize is that such an attitude is a clear indictment of their own leadership skills. The job of the leader is to give the follower a reason to get started. Even the most powerful high-performance sports car will be inert unless someone is there to start it. Employees are encouraged to start and perform well only when they work in an environment that makes them feel wanted, important, respected and satisfied.