“But how am I supposed to know what they want if they don’t tell me how they feel?”
This was the question I was asked during a coaching session with a supervisor the other day. She had received good marks on her feedback survey from her staff, but like most managers, there were a few areas that could use improvement.
The difficult part was, there were no comments from any of her staff members, and the numbers alone could not tell the story of what she needed to do in order to improve.
We’ve always believed strongly that people are the competitive advantage of organizations today. Not just bodies through the doors though, but rather people who believe in the work they are doing and find meaning in it; people who are enabled to learn and grow both professionally and personally; people who feel like they have a voice at their organization and control over their work.
The other day I was walking downtown in a hurry (much like I always am). I had a big report due and was spending my entire week at this quaint coffee shop.
I plan every minute of my day. So when anything out of the ordinary throws me off my schedule, I panic.
This day I walked the same route and passed the same woman sitting in a store front nook. She had bare feet, tussled hair, and her hands cupped as she quietly asked for spare change. Most people walked by, eyes averted.
A young college dropout wanders into a calligraphy class at Reed College. He becomes fascinated with the art form and starts studying it fervently. It becomes his obsession for the next 18 months.
At this time, Reed College offers some of the highest quality calligraphy instruction in the country, every poster, every drawer on the campus features the delicate lettering. The man soaks it all in, fingers stained with ink – studying the beauty and history; the subtleties and nuances of the written words.
Trust. Like honesty, integrity, and respect, it’s a word we often throw around, but it carries some heavy weight. Trust is something we don’t take lightly. We wouldn’t go to a doctor we didn’t trust, we switch mechanics when we lose trust and relationships fall apart when it’s lacking, however, when it comes to the workplace it would seem that we tolerate a surprising level of distrust.
I recently watched a presentation by Simon Sinek called “Reconnect with Why”. It was about how good leadership establishes a system of trust in the workplace and how strong leaders foster natural organization and cooperation.
In this talk, he discussed what makes a great leader, and great organizations, and I wanted to pass it along to you. While the concept is quite simple and has remained the same since human beings first gathered in groups, it is easily forgotten amidst the noise and busyness of today’s organizations.
Wanted to speak up during a meeting, but were worried what others would think?
Had a co-worker ask you to take over some of their work when you were already overloaded, but you said yes anyway?
Wanted to address a difficult topic with your boss, such as a promotion, but kept pushing it off?
Many people avoid situations that require them to speak up because they want to avoid conflict or worry about what others might think of them. Instead they take the passive route of not rocking the boat and being the “nice guy.”