“If the townspeople are happy, look to the chief.” This old Liberian adage nonetheless implies one thing: the chief’s leadership culture is the reason behind their smiles. Although we can learn a lot from the past, leaders of today still have a hard time dealing with and managing their people.
An ideal culture isn’t made overnight and it’s even harder to forge. This is more of a trial-and-error process to determine which one fits best. There are lots of things to consider, and among the most important are the employees’ response and perception.
If the culture a leader imbibes makes this much difference, how would one know certain ethos are better changed than kept? Unless your employees say it straight to your face, pay attention to these signs that they’re struggling, bothered and/or dissatisfied.
A Leadership Crisis
Almost all companies project an image of high employee satisfaction. Despite this, organizational distrust remains rampant.
According to the article, there are leadership pitfalls that trigger distrust among employees and these are:
- asking for feedback yet not acting on it
- unemotional or not compelling mission, vision values
- and ineffective delegation
However, you can work this one out and redeem yourself if you’ve committed any of these. According to the author, there are three elements of trust: capability, commitment, and character. So if there’s a breach in any of these, it needs to be fixed ASAP.
Unfortunately, the mending process is downright difficult. Sometimes, it means swallowing your pride and humbling yourself. However, a good leader must bite the bullet to win back his subordinates’ trust and confidence. Not only will this leadership culture secure success, but also a lasting bond and relationship.
Communicating yet Not Understanding
This boils down to one thing: how willing are both parties to listen. Any desperate attempt to settle issues is only bound to fail unless one of them calms down and lends an ear.
As a leader, you must have a ready ear to listen to your employees’ gripes. According to speaker and author Brent Gleeson, being engaged in any form of communication and with any person makes the individual feel that you care.
In addition, a leader should also have a clear plan towards a specific goal. When giving instructions, make sure that you’ve laid out every step in the clearest way possible. Take time to exchange ideas and listen to opinions. Bear in mind that you’re not the only skillful or intelligent person in the world.
High Employee Turnover
While many deem turnovers as normal, a higher rate sends a message that’s detrimental to the whole image of the business.
Small companies struggle with this, as they’ll have an endless competition with bigger companies. However, if the management values their employees, they’ll go out of their way just to interact and relate to their small team. This makes them feel that their bosses are within their reach.
Incentives and development opportunities are also important to workers. Trust and respect will also get you far if you constantly remind your subordinates their worth and their contribution to the betterment of the company.
Doing Little about Their Drained Enthusiasm
Work, work, work! This long-standing culture believed to equate to diligence and professionalism is a dated mindset. Today’s workplace culture is all about work-life balance.
While small businesses can only do little in giving their employees grand paid vacations and stuff, it doesn’t mean they can’t pull some tricks out of their sleeves. According to The Thriving Small Business, there are six ways managers and leaders can do to encourage this balance:
- Set the Example
- Establish Boundaries
- Promote Hobbies
- Demonstrate Right Priorities
- Committed to Balance
- Offer Work-Life Balance Benefits
The worst thing you can do to an employee in dire need of a vacation is to ask him to postpone his plans. Even worse, make him feel guilty about leaving work temporarily, or that he should be thankful that you’re giving him a break. In the first place, it’s a privilege he’s earned after working for you for a period of time.
Putting families first should also be the battle cry of every company. We can’t afford to see our families suffer because of work. There should be a healthy balance, where both parties concerned can benefit. Though jobs are the main sources of income, we also need to be mindful of our personal lives, health and relationships to be happier and more productive members of the labor force.
Implementing Rules that Kill It Further
Rules set order. Problems begin when people start to feel suffocated.
Many workplace experts agree that in setting rules, there should be a good reason behind it. Also, rules shouldn’t be shortsighted. A good leadership culture is all about implementing beneficial guidelines. Besides, what works for a particular company may not work for your type of service.
Dr. Travis Bradberry states that “when companies create ridiculous and demoralizing rules to halt the outlandish behavior of a few individuals, it’s a management problem.” He also enumerated a few rules that lead companies into this very trap of lazy measures.
- Bell curves and forced rankings of performance.
- Ridiculous requirements for attendance, leave, and time off.
- Restricting internet use.
- Banning mobile phones.
- Draconian e-mail policies.
- Stealing employees’ frequent-flyer miles.
- Pathetic attempts at political correctness.
- Shutting down self-expression (personal items and dress code).
The Internet is growing more of a need nowadays, so restricting it may send your workers crazy. The best way to protect your system from any breach would be restricting those unnecessary or high-risk websites. As for banning phones, you must have an alternative communication line in case of emergencies.
Paying your employees for their hard work is often not enough to make them stay. Sometimes, it goes beyond monetary gains.
It’s important to heed their concerns and make it a point to reach a consensus in the process of solving every issue. How we deal with them and how much change we’re willing to make for the best of everybody makes us the leader they’d either love to work for or walk away from.
Abigail Sabijon is the managing editor or Scoopfed.com. Before she set foot in the blogosphere, she was a university instructor and language teacher. She also prides on being a teaching and leadership trainer. In her spare time, she writes content for MyFriendFernando.