Do you know the Christmas story of three wise men from the east who followed a star to find the baby Jesus? The star they saw guided them to their destination. They were determined to get there because they had important gifts to present to Jesus. They wanted to make the journey. They followed a certain star, and delivered their gifts! Leaders also have very important gifts to deliver: gifts of good leadership to colleagues and followers who depend on that leadership to guide, support, and encourage them. The model of determination, commitment, and generosity that the wise men displayed is a motivating example for leaders to emulate year-round.
The classic movie The Wizard of Oz brings to life the famous Flying Monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West. These strange beasts do the bidding of the evil witch as they are sent out to capture victims and bring them back to the witch’s dungeon. Many a child’s nightmare has resulted from the scary scene in the movie where the flying monkeys snatch up innocent, terrified Dorothy and whisk her away. It’s a scene that evokes despair and fear. How can Dorothy escape the clutches of this evil?
I recently saw a bumper sticker that read, “Don’t make me call out my Flying Monkeys!” At first it seemed funny, as images of the movie scene flashed through my mind and I thought of the extreme nature of the monkeys’ mission. However, upon reflection, I realized the saying could very well communicate this message: Don’t cross me, or you’ll be sorry. Although humorous at first, unfortunately the meaning is all too true for some. Have you known a leader who is harsh, unreasonable, and can make life miserable for followers?
Why do you approach your work a certain way? Why do co-workers approach work in ways that seem counter-productive to you? Our approach to work is guided by our personal priorities. Each person has priorities that rise to the forefront in thinking and behavior.
We find it easier to work with co-workers who share our priorities. After all, “they get it!” We may find it challenging and sometimes unpleasant to work with colleagues whose priorities differ from our own: “They just don’t get it!” If we had a way to better communicate our priorities to others and to better respond to the priorities of our co-workers, it would make our workplaces better! Communication would flow more freely and helpfully, productivity would increase, and people would be more fulfilled in their work. All of this would most certainly lead to a better financial bottom line. So let’s take a look at how to communicate better so that our workplaces and work outcomes are improved.
Sometimes it’s just a great day, good things happen, stuff goes right, and you’re thinking—“This is magical! Really? Could days like this occur more often?” We are surprised because we are accustomed to dealing with difficulty, anticipating annoyances, and feeling stressed. But there are ways to witness “magic” more regularly. In leadership it’s all about the people with whom you interact.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. Among the many contributing factors, job satisfaction is key. The Conference Board report of 2014 reveals that in 2013, the percentage of workers satisfied with their jobs was 47.7, well below the historical level of 61.1 percent in 1987. A 2014 report by CareerBuilder cites these reasons: 45% of workers say they were dissatisfied with the advancement opportunities at their current company; 39% percent say they didn’t have a positive work/life balance; 37% percent had a poor opinion of their boss and his/her performance; 36% said they felt like they were overlooked for a promotion. Clearly, employees are willing to reveal their reasons for dissatisfaction and eventual quitting of their jobs. As a business owner, business leader or organizational leader, do you think about employee retention? Do you value your workers and do they know it? Continue reading
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.
Ahh, the aroma of her cookies in the oven was extraordinary! I didn’t get to see my grandmother very often, but I remember her chocolate chip cookies as a highlight of our visits to her home. The whole place felt cozy and inviting, and I felt like a special guest as she finished the last batch of the old fashioned recipe and served them warm. What a lasting and delightful memory!
There are behaviors in leadership that elicit “good feelings,” like grandmother’s cookies. Is there a leader that you enjoy working for or with—just because you like the way you feel when you work together? Continue reading
According to WordPress, 78% of companies that blog DAILY have acquired a customer from their blog. If you blog multiple times per day, that number climbs to close to 100%. Well, I (Jeff) didn’t know that until I read Secret To Daily Blogging With The Power Post by Nuclear Chowder Marketing (gotta love that name!). Here at WellSpirit Consulting, we’ve been blogging weekly. Challenged by the stats and tips in the article mentioned above, we decided to up our game. That’s right, weekly blogging is out – and daily blogging (or at least almost daily) blogging is in.