It’s Monday morning and the weekend is over for most of us and it is time to go back to work. Are your employees looking forward to coming back to work for you? There is a quote that says, “People join companies and leave managers.” If you formally manage people as a part of your job responsibilities, this column may be of particular interest to you. I intended to write about something completely different for this issue but recently I have heard so many distressful stories about bosses that make the workplace more challenging than it has to be that I changed my focus. Let’s be clear, the purpose of any business is to generate profits. A business usually does that by filling a need that serves customers. Your employees service and touch your customers so it is in the best interest of a manager or business owner to have motivated, engaged and reasonably happy employees interacting with them. Have you gone to make a purchase and while the clerk is checking you out, they share their view of what a horrible place they work in and how they can’t wait to find an escape? Even worse, they ignore customers and spend their time sharing with their peers about their plight of working for uncaring bosses and companies that don’t expect much of them or invest in their training and development. Sound familiar? This is a symptom of workplace pain that has become too often the rule and not the exception. The antidote is to train managers and leaders to become effective in leading people. They might focus as much on the return on people (ROP) as they focus on the return on investment (ROI). The two things are very closely related. Extensive research has shown that the managers or leaders of organizations or companies create the environment, climate and culture. Managers can create a climate that encourages employees to offer ideas for new products, redefine processes that increase productivity and customer satisfaction and look for ways to grow company revenue. The climate can impact the bottom line profits of a company by a 28 percent factor…up or down. What company would not like to grow profit by even a fraction of that number?
What does it take to be a leader that creates a positive workplace climate? In their book, The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner identified four practices of exemplary leadership. They are:
- Model the Way
- Inspire a Shared Vision
- Challenge the Process
- Enable Other to Act