Illustration: Ashley Siebels
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, 67% of workers are not engaged or are actively disengaged. The old command-and-control style of leadership does not work today. Don’t be afraid to try new things because the old way isn’t working anyway. In progressive organizations coaching is replacing managing, a culture of “purpose” is replacing a culture of “paycheck” and employee development is replacing the employee benefits package.
Here are practical indicators that you are not connecting with your employees.
- You don’t say thank you and recognize employees on a one-on-one basis every day. Human beings want to know they matter for their individual contribution as much as their function on a team.
- You don’t delegate, forgoing achievements more appropriate for your level. This results in micromanaging and underdevelopment of your team. It also results in them undervaluing you. People want responsibility and thrive when they are given creative freedom. Instead of telling them what to do, coach them. Ask what they think should be done. Who else will it affect? What date will it be complete?
- You implement change without an explanation of ‘why’ and ‘how.’ Your employees cannot read your mind. If they don’t understand the “Why?” behind the plan, determining “How?” is uninspiring and meaningless.
- You haven’t assessed workflow. Is there useless work being repeatedly done because the entire process has not been dissected to see what can be streamlined or eliminated?
- You’re afraid to ask your team how you are doing as their leader. Humility exemplifies good character. Asking for feedback and providing a safe environment for honesty instills trust and growth. Don’t take anything personally. “Please keep me updated on how I’m doing.”
- You neglect to instill a sense of urgency and relevance. Relate their work to their lives. “If you were our client…” “If we don’t succeed, what will happen?”
- You mistake physical presence for buy-in. Are they sitting there? Or are they smiling, innovating and surpassing the goal?
- You categorize people. Labeling people for the sake of judgment makes people wonder how you classify them.
- You manage everyone the same. Why would an employee be a high-performer if she gets the same direction, feedback, raise, perks and accolades as an under-performer? Have you given your team assessments to help them understand their strengths? How do you draw out the ideas of the introvert? Who’s the right person on the team to define process versus build rapport.
- You are indecisive and don’t speak with certainty. Employees need you to lead them more than they need you to be their friend or anything else. Manage your doubt and fear before it manages you. If you make a bad decision, admit it. No one is perfect. Including you. Speak with confidence.
- You need to be right. If you need to be right you don’t have trust, a safe environment or a team who will advance because they are too afraid of you. Ask them, “Tell me something you don’t want me to know.” And say, “Thank you for that.”
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.