Reason No. 1: Your Leadership Doesn’t Care

5 Reasons Your Company is a Lousy Place to Work

Whenever people attend a cocktail party, invariably someone in the room will have an occupation that others will solicit for some (free) advice. Medical doctors are asked “Does this mole look cancerous to you?” Car mechanics are queried whether the “chunka-chunka” sound the engine makes means a new transmission is needed. And as an industrial/organizational psychologist, I get interrogated about “Why is my company such a lousy place to work? Why do I hate working there?”

There can be any number of specific reasons why one’s work experience is lacking awesomeness. However, for the sake of these cocktail conversations, I’ve distilled the reasons into five broad buckets that I will be discussing over several articles.

Reason No. 1: Your Leadership Doesn’t Care
Many of the worst companies I have come across are that way because leadership does not show a genuine interest in its people (and sometimes in the success of the business itself). This comes out in cocktail chatter with complaints about leadership not understanding what people do day-to-day, making seemingly random changes to strategy and structure , treating employees as invaluable, being overly disruptive, and giving off a vibe that they’re arrogant and do not listen to its people.

Kenexa’s WorldNorms database indicates that only 60 percent of employees feel their management shows genuine interest in their well-being, and only 51 percent feel senior leadership actively demonstrates how important their employees are to the success of the company. What is more telling is that responses indicate employees just don’t know if their leaders are interested in them or not. This suggests that a large proportion of company leaders are not being as visible and as connected as they should be. And that disconnection has a direct impact on how employees perceive the company and their work experience.

STAY VISIBLE AND LISTEN LIKE YOU MEAN IT
The quick fix here is for leadership to come down from the mountain and make an effort to really listen to their people at all levels and take that into consideration when making decision. Sincerity in leaders is an immensely powerful tool. When people feel their leaders are sincere, they are more likely to trust those leaders, support their vision and strategy and exert greater effort to help achieve organization goals.

GO BEYOND “WHAT” & TELL THEM “WHY”
Another way for leaders to connect with employees is to take the extra time and effort to not just tell their people the “what”, but take time to explain the “why” behind decisions and changes. One of the biggest reasons why people resist change is that they are not given an explanation as to why it is important. Taking time for particularly critical changes also buys some trust that will help people go along with smaller changes without a lot of elaboration. When this effort isn’t taken, well, that’s when we hear a lot griping about how inconsiderate leaders are, and how the change isn’t good for the company, and how it’s bad to work there.

CARING LEADERSHIP IMPACTS ENGAGEMENT
It isn’t rocket science – visibility, candor and a little humbleness can go a long way to show leadership does indeed care, which in turn, makes the organization feel like a much better place to work. This is true at all levels of the organization. Research shows people who have more frequent contact and more meaningful (sincere) discussions with their managers are much more engaged than those who do not, are more likely to stay, more likely to be more aligned to strategic goals and more likely to meet performance goals. And all it takes is a short conversation.

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Next time, we’ll discuss another reason why your company is a lousy place to work: The people you work with don’t care.

Whenever people attend a cocktail party, invariably someone in the room will have an occupation that others will solicit for some (free) advice. Medical doctors are asked “Does this mole look cancerous to you?” Car mechanics are queried whether the “chunka-chunka” sound the engine makes means a new transmission is needed. And as an industrial/organizational psychologist, I get interrogated about “Why is my company such a lousy place to work? What do I hate working there?”

There can be any number of specific reasons why one’s work experience is lacking awesomeness. However, for the sake of these cocktail conversations, I’ve distilled the reasons into five broad buckets that I will be discussing over several articles.

Many of the worst companies I have come across are that way because leadership does not show a genuine interest in its people (and sometimes in the success of the business itself). This comes out in cocktail chatter with complaints about leadership not understanding what people do day-to-day, making seemingly random changes to strategy and structure , treating employees as invaluable, being overly disruptive, and giving off a vibe that they’re arrogant and do not listen to its people.

Kenexa’s WorldNorms database indicates that only 60 percent of employees feel their management shows genuine interest in their well-being, and only 51 percent feel senior leadership actively demonstrates how important their employees are to the success of the company. What is more telling is that responses indicate employees just don’t know if their leaders are interested in them or not. This suggests that a large proportion of company leaders are not being as visible and as connected as they should be. And that disconnection has a direct impact on how employees perceive the company and their work experience.

The quick fix here is for leadership to come down from the mountain and make an effort to really listen to their people at all levels and take that into consideration when making decision. Sincerity in leaders is an immensely powerful tool. When people feel their leaders are sincere, they are more likely to trust those leaders, support their vision and strategy and exert greater effort to help achieve organization goals.

Another way for leaders to connect with employees is to take the extra time and effort to not just tell their people the “what”, but take time to explain the “why” behind decisions and changes. One of the biggest reasons why people resist change is that they are not given an explanation as to why it is important. Taking time for particularly critical changes also buys some trust that will help people go along with smaller changes without a lot of elaboration. When this effort isn’t taken, well, that’s when we hear a lot griping about how inconsiderate leaders are, and how the change isn’t good for the company, and how it’s bad to work there.

It isn’t rocket science—visibility, candor and a little humbleness can go a long way to show leadership does indeed care, which in turn, makes the organization feel like a much better place to work. This is true at all levels of the organization. Research shows people who have more frequent contact and more meaningful (sincere) discussions with their managers are much more engaged than those who do not, are more likely to stay, more likely to be more aligned to strategic goals and more likely to meet performance goals. And all it takes is a short conversation.

Next time, we’ll discuss another reason why your company is a lousy place to work: The People You Work with Don’t Care.

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