I talk a lot about how to keep employees engaged and happy and taking exquisite care of customers. Overand full of mostly positive points of view on running the kind of business that breeds love and loyalty.
What I don’t think I talk about much is what makes people disengaged and unhappy.
Enlightened leaders examine both sides of the coin.
I’ve worked for companies who think they live their values, but don’t really.
They’re choosing to believe the good press they got at one time or another and refusing to evolve by asking the tough questions.
I’ve worked for companies that want to believe they are great places to work, but aren’t anymore.
Companies that have the skill of hiring great people who want to do the job right but who then have to struggle against management who stands in their way with stupid rules they hold on to like “sacred cows.”
Not knowing how to prioritize the work that continually expands, lots of people are tired, stressed or anxious. Many don’t feel their management cares enough. The largest majority of the American workforce is disengaged from their work. Maybe not your staff, but someone you know somewhere.
I’ve seen a lot, and because I’m empathic, I’ve felt a lot. (Ouch)
In my work I sit down to talk to everyday employees, to get a feel for what their worlds are like, so I can design training that will give them what they need to be more successful. Sometimes, the best I can do is help them realize the experience they have at work is a choice, as is their level of happiness. If their management is open to it, I can help them understand how to lead in more positive, generative and expansive way.
Still, Gallup says that 51% of the American workforce is either actively or passively looking for another job.
Here are some of the reasons why they feel:
- Under-valued or appreciated near as much as they’d like to.
- Disconnected from the company’s mission, if they even understand what it is.
- Left out of decisions that immediately impact the quality of their life at work.
- Harassed or maybe misunderstood.
- Unsafe. They feel judged.
- Shame and embarrassment.
- Are underpaid.
- Disconnected and often ostracized.
When people feel these things at work, they bring negative feelings home to their family and their communities. There’s only so long one can feel badly at work before it begins to degrade health and relationships.
Today begins National Suicide Prevention Week. While there are many reasons people commit suicide some of the risks are anxiety, depression, bullying and social isolation.
Each year 45,000 Americans take their own lives.
It takes two of my hands to count the number of times I’ve been personally brokenhearted by losing someone dear to me who made the choice to die rather than live.
I believe that many so many lives can be saved when we as human beings make the commitment to reach out and make positive connections with people and – as positive leaders do – let them know we see their strengths and the best in them.
Reflecting back to someone how we see their goodness and worth helps build self-esteem and courage.
Everyone can one can play a role in prevention by asking the hard questions –
- Do I know someone who might be feeling isolated, alone?
- If so, how can I create a more inviting inclusive environment for them?
- What do I practice as a leader to make sure people know how valued and appreciated they are?
- How vital to the mission they are?
Next Saturday I’ll be walking on the “Out of Darkness Community Walk in Delray Beach FL.” I’ll be walking with my dear friend Sandra who lost her beloved husband, best friend, and soulmate to suicide 3 years ago. I’ll be walking for my favorite uncle, a friend’s 9 year old daughter, an in-law, a successful colleague, fellow author and speaker and a few others who I will carry with me that day.
Besides creating a beautiful positive and appreciative culture where you work, here’s how you can help.
Let’s blow my $500 goal out into orbit and try to 10x it!
Mental health in this country is getting worse and not better. We can all help by doing our part with our money and our mouths.
- Be aware of others and their feelings.
- Reach out and include people.
- Show compassion (you never know what someone is going through internally.)
- Be kind.
- Learn more:
Ask yourself – Are you a Positive Energizer?