According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, 67 percent of workers are not engaged or are actively disengaged. The old command-and-control style of leadership doesn’t work today. Don’t be afraid to try new things because the old way isn’t working anyway.
In progressive organizations coaching is replacing managing, a culture of “purpose” is replacing a culture of “paycheck,” and employee development is replacing the employee benefits package.
Here are practical indicators that you aren’t connecting with your employees.
1. You don’t say thank you and recognize employees on a one-on-one basis every day. Human beings want to know they matter for their individual contribution as much as their function on a team.
2. You don’t delegate, forgoing achievements more appropriate for your level. This results in micromanaging and team underdevelopment. It also results in the team undervaluing you. People want responsibility and thrive when they’re given creative freedom. Instead of telling them what to do, coach them. Ask what they think should be done. Who else will it affect? What date will it be complete?
3. You implement change without an explanation of “why” and “how.” Your employees cannot read your mind. If they don’t understand the “why” behind the plan, determining “how” is uninspiring and meaningless.
4. You haven’t assessed workflow. Is useless work being repeatedly done because the entire process hasn’t been dissected to see what can be streamlined or eliminated?
5. You’re afraid to ask your team how you are doing as their leader. Humility exemplifies good character. Asking for feedback and providing a safe environment for honesty instills trust and growth. Don’t take anything personally. “Please keep me updated on how I’m doing.”
6. You neglect to instill a sense of urgency and relevance. Relate their work to their lives. “If you were our client …” “If we don’t succeed, what will happen?”
7. You mistake physical presence for buy-in. Are they sitting there? Or are they smiling, innovating and surpassing the goal?
8. You categorize people. Labeling people for the sake of judgment makes people wonder how you classify them.
9. You manage everyone the same. Why would an employee be a high performer if she gets the same direction, feedback, raise, perks and accolades as an under performer? Have you given team assessments to help them understand their strengths? How do you draw out the ideas of the introvert? Who’s the right person on the team to define process versus build rapport?
10. You are indecisive and don’t speak with certainty. Employees need you to lead them more than they need a friend. Manage your doubt and fear before it manages you. If you make a bad decision, admit it. No one is perfect, including you. Speak with confidence.
11. You need to be right. If you need to be right, you don’t have trust, a safe environment or a team that will advance because they are too afraid of you. Ask them, “Tell me something you don’t want me to know.” And say, “Thank you for that.”
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE, President of MaryLeeGannon.com, an executive coaching firm that helps busy leaders thrive, earn and influence from the convenience of their office, an airport, or at their leisure. Mary Lee is an award-winning mindful executive strategist, ICF certified coach and author. She has 20-plus years as a CEO leading organizations worth up to $26 million within 60,000 employee organizations, as well as coaching executives on how to get off the treadmill to nowhere with mindful confidence, connection and calm to enjoy record performance and more time with the people who matter while it still matters.