We cannot deny that the world is different than it was a few years back, requiring us as leaders to view things differently and lead differently. The hot leadership topics for 2022 and 2023 reflect these changes. Employee well-being has soared to the top of businesses’ priorities as they recognize that productivity is affected if employees aren’t well (physically, mentally, and emotionally). This emphasis on well-being correlates with the fact that the main quality employees seek is stability at work, and employees seek out companies they can trust. Leaders need to focus on building trust within their organization’s culture, or they will not be able to secure loyalty from their workforce. And, “quiet quitters” are contributing to the problems leaders face in building an engaged workforce. A quiet quitter is an employee who has stopped going above and beyond and is doing the minimal amount of work needed to just “get by”. Daily headlines emphasize growing concerns over the mental health of our population. Working from home or hybrid work schedules have contributed to disconnectedness and divisiveness.
Good leaders care more about their people than they do the business. They want their employees to feel connected, valued, and engaged. In 2022, leadership is harder than ever. And being a great leader requires the right perspective – focusing on the people more than the business. So, what can we do to make a positive difference?
Back in the 1980’s, the buzz word in leadership discussions was MBWA – Management By Walking Around. The concept was simple – if leaders simply walk around and talk to their employees and observe the workplace and the workforce in action, they will better see and understand any problems and how to solve them. Today, the concept is still very valid – but the focus should be more on seeing and understanding the people. MBWA is a bit harder now since most of the time we are not physically present with our employees. So, we must get creative! The more you know about your employees and understand their personal situations, what is important to them and what is not, what energizes them and what they value most, the better leader you can become.
The most important thing you can do is simply talk to your employees. Spend time with them virtually and in person, “see” them with fresh eyes, truly listen to them and hear what they are saying (and not saying). A quote from an unknown source states, “Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet”. Do you know your employees enough to understand what they are thinking and feeling in situations in which they do not feel safe in speaking up?
Our employees need to know that we see them, we hear them, we care about them, and we are here for them. Every day is a new opportunity to have one more chance to touch a heart, to encourage a mind, to inspire someone, to make a positive difference.
By Peggy Smith
The mission of Leadership Siouxland is to develop diverse, passionate leaders who positively impact our community for today and tomorrow. Leadership Siouxland began in 1984 and is proud of the over 1200 graduates who make positive differences each and every day. To learn more, contact Peggy Smith, Executive Director, at 712-898-8594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.