don’t put your employees in the hospital!

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

“Simply put, employers can make decisions to improve people’s lives in fundamentally important ways. Or, alternatively, employers can, either intentionally or through ignorance and neglect, create workplaces that literally sicken and kill people.”

(Pfeffer, 2018)

This quote is one of the many that stopped me dead in my tracks. To realize that the quality of our leadership can literally put people in the hospital or improve the quality of their lives is very sobering. The subtitle of the book is arresting as well – How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance – and What We Can Do About It. Sure, we managers are all about organizational performance (which is important by the way!), but too often the way we are leading is not only detrimental to organizational performance, more importantly, it is detrimental to the very health of the people we are leading.

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and is the author or co-author of 15 books – so he is well qualified to address this subject. Following is a sampling of some “brutal facts” from his book that illustrate our need to become better leaders.

  • “The American Institute of Stress maintains that job stress costs US employers more than $3oo billion annually. The ill-health from workplace stress adversely affects productivity and drives up voluntary turnover.”
  • “In total, workplace environments in the US may be responsible for 120,000 excess deaths per year-which would make workplaces the 5th leading cause of death, and account for about $180 billion in additional health-care expenditures, approximately 8% of the total; health-care spending.”
  • “According to the Mayo Clinic, the person you report to at work is more important for your health than your family doctor. – Bob Chapman”
  • “Simply put, employers can make decisions to improve people’s lives in fundamentally important ways. Or, alternatively, employers can, either intentionally or through ignorance and neglect, create workplaces that literally sicken and kill people.

These statistics should be a clarion call to action for us as leaders.

Continue reading BG’s post on Coachwell’s site by clicking here

Welcome Lauren Allen to the practice!

It is a great day today as we welcome Lauren Allen to the practice.

Lauren will be serving as the Operations Manager. She has years of experience in the area of Human Resources and customer service. She is also an excellent researcher which will enable us to better serve our clients.

So glad to have her as a part of the practice as we seek to Help Leaders Grow!

6 questions leaders must answer

Much is written about how to use questions to lead; about how leaders need to be asking the right questions of those they lead.

However, one key aspect of leadership, is answering questions for the people that you are leading. In one of my favorite organizational health books, The Advantagemy favorite organizational health / business author, Patrick Lencioni, lists “Six Critical Questions”. These six questions must be answered by leaders of organizations for their followers if they want to optimize the performance of their organization.

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is most important, right now?
  6. Who must do what?

So, how are you answering those questions for your organization?

I hope it is a tremendous week for you!
BG

How Healthy Is Your Organization?

“The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged—they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged—they’re just there.

“These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn’t work anymore.” (Clifton)

“After two decades of working with CEOs and their teams of senior executives, I’ve become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.” (Lencioni)

“The most important decisions that executives make are people decisions.” (Drucker)

We have an organizational health problem in this country that is undermining the effectiveness of our organizations in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. The implications are far reaching in that it affects the overall health of this country economically, it affects the communities where organizations operate, and it affects the health of individual employees and their families.

The cause of the problem, and the solution, rests with those leading those organizations at the C-Suite and Board levels.

Many leaders of organizations have come through the business education system and are well schooled in the “hard science” aspects of running organizations. They know how to produce and read financial reports, develop strategic plans, manage supply chains, produce sales forecasts, ensure they are complying with human resources regulations, and all the other aspects of running an organization that are so important.

As important as good systems and processes are to a well-run organization, we have to embrace the fact that the health of the people in our organizations is more important than our strategies and systems. I once worked for an incredibly successful businessman who made the statement that there was no need for customer satisfaction surveys – what was needed was employee satisfaction surveys. His position was that if you have satisfied employees, you have satisfied customers. Put another way – if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.

Leaders have to learn to think differently about the people of their organizations realizing they are individuals with fears and hopes. It is up to us to take a deep look at our organizational culture and to start making the needed changes. Often it starts with looking in the mirror. It is up to us to first change our mindset.

It’s not really that complicated, but it is hard work. It begins with truly caring about the people in your organization. Do you see them as obstacles, means to an end, or as persons? Start with how you view others and go from there.

In summary is a quote attributed to Peter Drucker—“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

BG Allen
Executive Coach
Coachwell Inc.

Sources:
Clifton, Jim “State of the American Workplace Report” (p. 2). Gallup (2017)
Lencioni, Patrick M. The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 8-9). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition
Peter Drucker, http://creativefollowership.com/the-most-important-decisions/

the grunt part of leadership

Often, when I hear people talk of leading others it is about the perks of being a leader. However, there are a few things about leadership to remember:

  1. It’s not about you
  2. Others are more important than your comfort
  3. It is about sacrifice
  4. It is about courage in the face of adversity
  5. It is about humility in the face of success
  6. It is about serving others, seeking their good before you seek your own

One thing bears repeating – It is not about you!

BG

“The Crisp Meeting” by Seth Godin

The Crisp Meeting is a great post by Seth Godin that gives you a framework for creating meetings that enhance your work instead of them becoming a drain on your productivity. Following is an excerpt from the post:

The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions:

Who should be in the room?

What’s the advance preparation we ought to engage in? (at least an hour for every meeting that’s worth holding).

What’s the budget?

What’s the deadline?

The post has several more excellent questions to be asked in preparation for a meeting and some pithy thoughts as you might expect from Mr. Godin. It is worth a read in my opinion.

 

BG

leader versus manager?

Managers are receiving a bad rap in my opinion. I enjoy learning and sharing about leadership, so I keep up fairly well with the current literature. Additionally, I have been an adjunct professor at the graduate level for about 14 years often teaching on leadership using various texts.

I have seen a bit of a disturbing trend in the literature in that it sends, or implies, the message of “Leaders = Good, Managers = Bad“.  People are encouraged “don’t be a manager, be a leader!” as if managers are not leaders. That is the wrong message!

The contrast is actually about being a good boss (leader) versus a bad boss (leader).

Managers are leaders, supervisors are leaders! Without managers and supervisors we would never get anything done! They are the team leaders of the people actually getting the work done.

What we really have are:

Strategic Leaders (Executives) – setting vision, direction, and strategy

Operational Leaders (Directors & Senior Managers)- coordinating the work of multiple tactical level teams in order to execute the strategy set by the strategic leaders.

Tactical Leaders (Managers & Supervisors) – tactical level leaders that are leading the teams of people actually doing the work of the organization.

So, please do not diminish the critical role of managers by contrasting them negatively to the term leader. Managers are leaders!

“Consensus is a Four Letter Word”

TED Talk – “Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation”

the difference between inspired, engaged, and satisfied team members

Do you know the difference between inspired, engaged, and satisfied employees? Are you aware of the impact of the difference on their productivity? it is significant!

Read the article by Eric Garton and Michael C. Mankins on HBR.org for some very interesting insights!

W151201_MANKINS_PYRAMIDOF-850x598