Developing Your Talent

To Lead, Get Into the Trenches

By JC Heinen on June 14, 2012

In his TLNT article, 10 Employee Engagement-Destroying Perceptions You Cannot Afford, David Lee writes “It’s not enough to model best practices … You need to identify and eliminate the “wrong things.”  Lee contends that our survival instincts have hard-wired humans to “notice and remember negative things more effectively than positive.” It’s likewise with negative feelings.  One “insensitive, thoughtless act” by management can resonate throughout the company and wipe out previous expressions of appreciation and good will.

Employees often “perceive” that management is unaware of what’s happening “in the trenches,” that it fails to solicit employee input in decision making.  While management talks the talk, it doesn’t always walk the walk when it comes to motivation and performance.

In the popular TV show, “Undercover Boss,” company CEOs don disguises and tackle entry-level positions in an effort to connect directly with their workforce and learn what’s really going on in their own companies.  Often, the CEO struggles through his tasks, but takes time to listen to the opinions of his employees, and comes to gain a deeper appreciation for them and the work they do. By the end of the hour, the CEO institutes changes that are designed to help employees feel more valued, improve morale, and positively impact performance.

Have you had an honest discussion with your team lately to identify negative perceptions?  If not, why not initiate a process for candid feedback so management can quickly address employee frustrations and clear up misconceptions?  Connecting with your employees in an authentic way – and demonstrating that you value their opinions –  goes a long way toward creating an environment that fosters engagement and higher levels of trust, collaboration and productivity.






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