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Mondays can suck. After 2 days of not having to respond to emails, answer off-the-wall questions and field complaints, the last thing employees want to do on their first day back to work is listen to their fearless leader blowing smoke up their tails with rhetoric, self-fulfilling agenda items and excuses for their lack of employment engagement initiatives.
“Justin, stop being so critical! How do you know its smoke and not info they need to hear?” Look around. What are your employees doing while you’re talking? Are they playing Candy Crush, doodling, talking to their peers? Yeah, I thought so. Your employees aren’t motivated by your words, they’re thinking about updating their resumes and where to send them. You’ve lost your employees.
“But Justin, just because they don’t like what’s being said doesn’t mean the info is irrelevant!” You know what? You’re right, but they don’t care if they can’t see their role in the leader’s plan or if there is no plan at all.
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This lack of engagement or complacency doesn’t just happen overnight. People don’t come into organizations “Pre-disengaged”. They get that way by observing, by getting screwed over or watching it happen to their peers. Employees become disengaged when they do not clearly understand what they are working for and how they can contribute to the overall success of the company. Employees disengaged when they are not made to feel a part of the vision of the organization…that is of course if there is a vision in the first place.
Without a clear, communicated vision, your organization is bound to fail. Masses of employees will leave searching for purpose and fulfillment while the ones that stay will merely show up and wander aimlessly around the office never giving their full efforts. When those that follow you only hear from you in a moment of crisis or only once a year in a State of “My” Union type address, whatever you are feeding them won’t be received.
So here is my plea to all of those that have the huge responsibility of being a leader, manager, president, etc.:
- Communicate often, personally and not just when you want backing.
- Don’t pacify employees just to avoid the hard issues or executive-level deficiencies. Deal with the issues.
- Listen and respond to questions and concerns about where employees think and feel the organization is headed.
- Back up promises with actions, not taking for granted that employees will just deal, stay and weather the storm.
Share your vision for the organization with those that are charged with helping to fulfill it, as a vision that is not shared with them is the same as not having one at all. As where there is no vision, the organization will surely perish. And when the organization perishes, there will be nothing left for you to lead.