Most of us spend more of our waking hours at our places of work and with people, we work with than in our own homes and families. That's a fact.
And most of us are at best unhappy at work, at worst we're miserable at work. Why?
There are several reasons but I'm only going to share facets of a couple of them.
It's to do with the work environment, our bosses/leaders at work. But it's easy to blame the other, makes us feel better right? Well, it shouldn't. Take some responsibility. What or how are you contributing to the situation? I digress.
Back to my point. You see, leaders in business small or corporate are missing the point. They know they have some power and authority so they take advantage with negative consequences upon themselves, the employees and consequently their organisations. The ego gets in the way big time. The lower self is very mercurial. That’s a topic in itself!
Why should leaders be followed
To lead means to have followers. But you can't force anyone to follow you. Well, if you're an ass flaunting your badge of authority and power then people will reluctantly do what you say without giving nowhere near their best. So why should anyone want to follow you? So what are the qualities that you have that would attract others to give of themselves for you?
Leaders aspire and inspire
If a leader has a vision and is able to articulate the cause, the purpose in a genuine way, an inspiring way and also possess higher qualities then people will follow and often give much more than is required of them. Why? because we want to converge towards common values which give us a feeling of belonging and safety bounded by higher attributes.
But in most cases, the referencing between leaders and employees creates opposition resulting in a continuous unhealthy disengagement of values festering in an ‘unsafe’ environment. Most companies should have a ‘health warning’ on every wall!
So let's take a look at the focus of a leader or boss in the workplace.
Their main points are often the following:
- results, productivity
- the competition
- surveys and research reports
- shareholders/stakeholders interests
- on keeping their own jobs
- looking over their shoulder for the ‘stab in the back’
- on keeping the 'inner circle' protected
- to view employees as 'head counts'
- to view employees as 'us and them'
- how to get the maximum out of employees by giving the least
- to manipulate customers
- to manipulate staff
- how can they add extra zeros to their bonuses
- How can they get promoted
...and more like this!
The reason for this is quite simple. It's about raw survival instincts and it's what we observe and what we are taught! No wonder leaders are stressed out in a major way and popping pills.
Now let’s have a peek into what the employees (workers) referencing is.
They look for and want the following qualities in a boss or leader:
- look after their back (the employees)
- be considerate
- to be honest in communication
- not to hide potential internal threats
- to tolerate genuine mistakes
- to be given the opportunity to learn and progress and grow
- to be valued
- for the boss to go the extra mile
... and more like this!
The reason for this is quite simple. People want to be in a safe environment and give the best of themselves.
It is obvious that the two points of references are diametrically opposed.
In this situation both the leaders and the employees are only looking after their own interests, looking after 'their own backs'. And yet they are all under one roof, supposedly working towards the same cause! It creates separation between those who lead and the people they are leading.
This creates an untrusting workforce, not fully engaged, reluctantly coming to work, low self-esteem, no aspiration, low productivity and an 'unsafe' organisation. And frustrated leaders who will continue in the same vein.
Every organisation has to deal with challenges. At times the business can plan and strategise and at other times not.
One aspect of control that leaders have is to change the dynamics of their relationship between themselves and the employees. If done correctly and appropriately it can have a dramatic positive impact upon all concerned and consequently upon the business.
Change is challenging
Sometimes we feel 'safe' in familiarity, even if it's detrimental!
It requires a conscious realignment of values as a leader in business. To have the courage to move away from that which is familiar, from that which we think works and implement new processes, a new way of thinking.
To create positive progressive and sustainable change we first have to change ourselves meaning the leaders.
Leaders should care for others
Leadership is not just about being in charge, it's more about taking care of those in their charge. To create and foster a culture of knowing that 'we're in it together', harmony, trust, honesty, creativity and openness. This requires a totally different mindset and values amongst those who lead.
As a leader, by default, they have some power and some authority but with it comes responsibility and accountability. Leaders have the opportunity to make a real and lasting positive difference which could flourish and continue long after they have moved on.