Updated: Jun 10
In corporate environments around the globe, senior leaders sit in conference rooms saying things like "We need to take care of our most important asset, our people." And then two hours later, they have a team meeting where they tell their employees, "We just need to work a little harder (or smarter, or whatever buzzword is big this month)." The competing demands are just too difficult to navigate and unfortunately, taking care of the people tends to fall by the wayside. #worksmarter
Many businesses have made it more about profit than about people. If a little profit is good, more is even better. #corporategreed And then they make themselves feel better about it by providing a bigger benefit package, setting up a 24-hour support hotline, or offering a bonus for the top performers. A bigger benefit package isn't taking care of the people. Having a 24-hour hotline doesn't get to the root cause of the problem. That's like trying to put a band-aid over the chest of someone about to have a heart-attack. And the bonus works for a while, until employees are so burned out, they quit performing or leave the company. This isn't a problem for the business because people are, after all, an asset, to be bought, controlled, and replaced.
In the meantime, employees are tired and frustrated. Employees are trying to work harder, smarter, and somehow find a way to be creative in all that mess and feel like they are failing.
According to The American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress at work, with 25% of them feeling it so strongly they want to scream or shout. And that stress is impacting their personal relationships as well as their work, which just adds to the stress level.
Do we really need another stress management training program or do we maybe need to take a look at how we are treating employees in the workplace?
Let's Start with Leaders
Unfortunately, the stress often starts with the people leader. And even more unfortunately, the people leader is often experiencing stress from someone higher up the food chain. Senior leaders have lost perspective and front-line leaders have lost the courage to push back. These are fragile times. Pushing back could cost your job. But not pushing back could cost your integrity. Therein lies the stress. #dotherightthing
The entire point of leadership is to lead and inspire people. If you aren't able to treat them humanely, how will you ever hope to inspire them? It's about taking the time to care about both the people and the business. The people are, after all, what makes the business successful. Without them, your business is a one-man show. #peoplefirst
Regardless of where you are in the leadership food chain, you have the responsibility and opportunity to bring humanity back into the work place. It's time to start caring about employees as much as the productivity numbers and profits. It's time to cancel a few of those meetings you aren't even paying attention in and replace them with employee conversations. Here is what you will soon discover. When you take care of your people, they will move heaven and earth to help you. #leadfirst
Let me leave you with an example of a leader with the courage to protect his people. This video is about Navy Captain Crozier who was relieved of his duties when he leaked a memo about a large number of his crew having the corona-virus. While he had tried to work through his chain of command with no response or action, he feared for the safety and well-being of his crew. With over 100 people infected onboard the ship, he knew it was a matter of time before the entire ship was infected. This leader knew his actions would likely get him in trouble yet he had the courage to protect the health and safety of his employees anyway. It was the humane thing to do. And I think you'll see in the video the loyalty and respect he earned as a result.
If you'd like to learn more about effective leadership and creating high performing teams, email email@example.com.