Engagement. Connection. Alignment.
Every organization covets these traits in their people, yet few organizations can claim to have this in the majority of their people. In fact, most companies have a gross disconnect within their teams.
Obtaining desired behaviors and emotional quotients in your employees doesn’t not require driving engagement or connection down through leadership to the ranks. It instead requires a bubbling up of this culture from the staff up to leadership by laying a strong platform in which people voluntarily get on board. In order to build this foundation, you need to identify any points of disconnect and root them out.
There are three core reasons why staff have a disconnect within the organization.
DISTRUST. A lack of trust in leadership can stem from any point. Trust erodes quickly and the leader(s) who can ensure every touch point is an opportunity to build trust will create a core basis on which everything else is built. Examples of behaviors that undermine trust are:
- Poor communication, hypocrisy, and management not sacrificing as much as the staff.
- So will lying, favoritism, unfair internal hiring or personnel practices, body language, and lack of commitment.
- Inequity or unfair processes that don’t apply to everyone.
- Information given only to a few, or those who ask.
- Opportunities to learn or advance that aren’t widely known.
BURDEN. When staff are required to do more with less, employees feel like they’re the dumping grounds for jobs management doesn’t want to do. Reduction of resources, layoffs, and demands for more productivity without the needed – or less – support all factor into disenfranchised people. Being a leader who makes processes and systems work more efficiently so your people can will stave off overworked feelings. Other examples may include:
- Phrases such as “The staff can do that, they have time, they can be more productive” and such communicate that they are deemed a commodity and not valued as a person.
- Companies that require, or expect, their staff to take work home, work late hours or mandatory overtime, required or expected to not willing to sacrifice anymore of their comfort or work-life balance.
- Broken systems that create more work, or barriers, or stress.
UNDERVALUED. One of the four basic needs is to feel important, or at least valued. Staff that don’t feel connected to the overall mission will start to contribute to another mission – their own. A wise leader will make their people feel appreciated and make sure the following don’t occur:
- Management that takes credit for work.
- Skewed or uneven work-life balance.
- Lack of praise, thanks, or even base recognition.
- People having no voice in matters pertaining to the work environment, management practices, work systems, or applications thereof.
Any of these three reasons being present in your organization will make your team fractured and give cause for great talent to contribute … elsewhere. By not only preventing these behaviors but also building those positive actions that enable buy-in, you can keep your people more fully connected in your company.
Give your team many reasons to trust. Ease any counterproductive burdens and give them resources to succeed. Show how much they are worth to you as employees, as people. Then watch them go to bat for your organization.
One thing interesting about goals and change. No matter when you initiate progress, the starting point is always the same.
Regardless if an individual or team has had years of sustained success or just barely starting out, the reference line is always the same. You start on the ground, your baseline being achievement of a new goal.
It consistently begins with a dream, goal, eye towards change or progress. No matter what success or failure has preceded it, the next step towards achievement is always knowing the big picture and then marshaling efforts and resources towards attaining it,
Knowing this starting point is key for a couple of reasons. First is knowing that past success – or failure – has no bearing whatsoever on future success. While recent success might create more confidence going in, there is never a guarantee for the next success, let alone that any foundational achievements will fundamentally ensure the next achievement.
This leads us to the second reason to know about this starting point. It should keep individuals and teams humble enough to know that everyone, every cause, every step towards progress starts all over again at this point.
Leaders have to instill trust and integrity every day en route to results. Athletes have the next competition to prepare for; even champions have to start a new season at zero just like their competition. New products and services must give way to the next enhancement or new product.
Any progress is all about perspective. Having the right perspective keeps one grounded, humble and willing to work hard towards the next worthwhile endeavor.
Start with the right perspective to increase your ability to reach the destination you’re plotting for.
“Business Is People” is what my college marketing professor – a former Del Monte Foods executive – would say.
It was a principle that his business undergraduate students all understood to be true.
So why is there such a proliferation of people reaching out to connect on social media, particularly on platforms such as LinkedIn, and after asking to connect, and quickly start making a pitch to sell to their new connection?
While the messages are different, they’re all basically the same.
“My company specializes in helping you grow your pipeline with people interested in working with you…”
“Just checking in to see when you’d be open to a quick phone call…what’s your availability like this week or next?”
“I like to make new friends and … how we could assist each other personally and business wise…”
“do you ever conduct expert interviews or surveys for your company? My company provides market research and specializes in niche audiences and finding experts for research. Happy to share more….”
With the rise of immediate solicitation of new connections, it’s no wonder there has been an increase in articles and posts that are generating awareness of this very unprofessional, and un-personal, trend.
More and more people online would rather build a relationship with you and get to a place later where a pitch could be made. In fact, one study indicated that 98% of the top sales professionals say relationships are the most important part of generating new business.
Great leaders in all professions build relationships first, and always before they ask for the sale. That is if they ever ask for the sale. Sometimes they aren’t connecting with you because they want something from you. These great leaders just like you because your a person, not a sales funnel.
If someone is so desperate for sales to chooses to solicit a new contact – who most have never met in real life – when they barely know them, it suggests a lack of sales skills, let alone inter-personal skills.
The most successful people are found to be relational, not transactional.
Remember, there’s always a human being at the heart of every transaction. Build connections and relationships. You may find you never have to ask for the sale, as your reputation and persona around you will naturally attract those who choose to do business with you.