Why don’t more employee care about their work?
Employee engagement is a red hot topic in today’s business world in no small part because management and leaders are finally accepting the facts. Last year Gallup reported that 72% of workers were disengaged to some degree.
Seeing those numbers, is there any question why so many leaders fail to do anything beyond the mundane?
Our political leaders fail just as bad, if not worse. If historical the trends continue, almost half of eligible voters will choose not to vote in the 2016 presidential election. Just 57% turned out to vote in 2012, down from 20008 where 62% turned out to elect the first African-American president.But even in that historic election, less than 2/3rds of eligible voters cast their ballot. Isn’t that a pretty lousy failure?
Why is this apathy so bad?
It comes down to three critical questions.
Question #1: Do you Care?
Voters, or at least those choosing not to vote, doubt that politicians really care about their problems. Many have become cynical about the motives of politicians, more concerned with building their empire, wealth and power than solving important problems. Eligible voters note the ethical violations, the slippery answers and deflected criticism. It doesn’t take long and potential voters doubt the stated intentions of politicians.
In the same way, leaders frustrate their own success when their actions prevent an authentic connection with the team. Employees engage only when they sense that the leader is honest, open and forthcoming. Anything that leader says or does that breaches that trust creates disengagement. There are no big secrets or questionable decisions. There is no awkward silence. Employees gladly join the team and share the work after the leader has built a trusting relationship.
Make no mistake – it is the leader’s responsibility to build that trusting relationship.
Does your team know you care about them, the company and the proposed radical change?
Question #2: Do I matter?
We hear it all the time but many, if not most voters, don’t believe it. “Every vote counts.” But does it? When we hear of voter fraud it is hard to believe that my vote counts like it should. Then when polls show that the lead is insurmountable and we are voting for the losing candidate, it is hard to see how it matters.
Granted, there are other races that might be closer, but the disillusioned voter doesn’t see that. Joe or Jane Voters doesn’t believe their actions will make any difference so they don’t vote.
In this case, the facts don’t matter – only their perception does.
Employees are the same. If they don’t think their voice is being hear or that the work they do will make any difference except to make a profit for some owner or executive, they are not engaged.
What do you do to show that that each individual’s actions and voice matters?
Question #3: Can I really make THE difference?
There is malaise that has infected the American voters. Many feel weak and helpless, unable to make the critical difference by casting a ballot. So they either focus on what they can do in their own personal world or criticize the leaders. Sometimes they do both but rarely do they change their minds and get involved.
In most organizations, many if not most workers feel helpless. At first they had ideas and passion but that quickly eroded with “No” “Not this time” “”We have that.” “There is no need for you to focus on that.” “Just do your job.”
No one will ever be engaged if they don’t feel like there is any hope of making that significant suggestion that leads to the radical change. So they do as they are told, they shut up and sit down. Then the management wonders why they don’t engage. Duh!
What are you doing to bring those employees into a place where they can make THE critical difference?
If you are serious about creating a radical change and your employees are not engaging the way you want, start with these three questions.
Please leave a comment about how you you will use these questions to create a radical change.
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I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I develop disruptive leaders . If you are looking for more options as either an aspiring leader or a leader emerging in the Connection Economy, contact me today.
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