A recent data shows less than 35% of employees are engaged at work. Other studies demonstrate approximately 70% of those who voluntarily leave a job do so because of the immediate supervisor. The data implies the treatment and leadership of staff is critically important.
One definition defines leadership as an influence on a person’s behavior. In that regard, everyone possesses a degree of leadership although many don’t realize it. Others may realize the influence they have and choose not to use it well (and that’s a problem – more on that later). Some use leadership for the overall good of the organization realizing some difficult choices are necessary. Let me explain.
Those in a position of power (supervisors and managers) wield influence in important ways. Managers must realize those who report to them (either as employees or contractors) have a certain level of stress or hidden fear of doing something wrong in the eyes of the manager. The manager drives the stress or fear in two ways – clarity in setting expectations, and response to things that don’t go well for reasons other than intentional insubordination.
Leaders Need to Take Action
A critical responsibility for the manager involves taking action on those who create havoc. I witnessed supervisors who treated their employees as if they were stupid and were allowed to do so by upper management. I also witnessed organizations who knew managers were dysfunctional creating a poor working environment for all but elected to keep them in place. In this particular case, the organization’s upper management elected to keep the dysfunctional manager in place for training purposes. The message sent to the rest of the organization is less than good – the organization doesn’t care how the employees/contractors are treated or doesn’t have the fortitude to take the necessary action. In either case, the morale and performance of the working force is reduced not to mention their respect for the managers as well.
The message for managers is this – think about how you use influence at the individual as well the organizational level. Everything you do and say (or not do or not say) is influence. Know that everyone is watching at all times to see what you choose to do or not do. Your treatment of others has an impact – so it’s up to you what kind of impact that is.
This link to a TED talk video demonstrates how small things can make a difference.
Tim Parker is a Business Consultant focusing on Executives and Leadership. He is President of Parker Resource Management, LLC in Raleigh, NC.
"What do you want to be remembered for?" - Peter Drucker