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Leaders who don’t nurture attentiveness and responsibility in their employees ultimately sabotage their own bottom lines. Are you an attentive, responsible employee? Or perhaps a business owner or organizational leader who would like to work with attentive, responsible employees? The words sound good, and it may seem like an ideal to pursue. After all, good employees mean better customer relations and more sales, right? The good news is, it’s an attainable reality for businesses and organizations to have attentive, responsible employees.
First, let’s look at “attentive”. Attentiveness is an intense mutual interest brought about through focused involvement with what the other party is saying and doing during the encounter. It’s the single most important dimension in managing customer dissatisfaction, having the largest effect on satisfaction and repurchase*. It’s transferable to management and employee relationships—any relationship. If you’re an employee, begin to practice attentive behavior with customers and your boss, too. You’ll be surprised how much your renewed interest in each person improves communication and end results. As the employer, begin modeling attentive behavior in the same way. You can explain to your employees what attentiveness is about as you show them the way. The synergy when both parties are attentive to one another is powerful.
Next, what is “responsible” when it comes to employees? It’s having the job or duty of dealing with or taking care of something or someone. A responsible employee is able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected. How do employees become “responsible” in these ways? It starts with you, the leader: if you value your people, they will reflect that in their wellbeing. And they will work better. Who you are leading today produces profits for tomorrow. Leadership advisor Mike Myatt says, “You simply cannot be a leader if you don’t care about those you lead. The real test of any leader is whether or not those they lead are better off for being led by them.”
Value Attentive, Responsible Employees
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. Why? Author Alan Hall reports that Grow America compiled research from several sources, and “…in truth, the majority of people, quitting or not, are currently unhappy in their jobs.” A recent study by Accenture reports these reasons: 1) They don’t like their boss (31%), 2) A lack of empowerment (31%), 3) Internal politics (35%) and 4) Lack of recognition (43%). Even in the current less than robust economy, people are willing to quit in order to find another job where they feel valued.
The Equation for Attentive, Responsible Employees
Employees who don’t make the effort to be attentive and responsible may forfeit promotions or other benefits, and ultimately live a less satisfying work experience. Considering that it is possible to develop these qualities, why wouldn’t we all try? The people who represent you, your company or your organization are your greatest assets. They build your success. Employees, you are those valuable people. It takes both owners/managers and employees—two sides of the equation—to make attentiveness and responsibility a reality at work.
*Tickle-Degnen, L and Rosenthal, R. (1990). The nature of rapport and its nonverbal correlates,” Psychological Inquiry, 1 (4), 285-93.
About the Author
Dr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops. Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.