Disengaged Employees. What is the Future of Leadership?
According to a recent Gallup survey, 87% of employees are disengaged. No company can survive long term with 87% of their people disengaged. What are some of the reasons?
Downsizing & layoffs have become more prevalent in the last several years. Some people have experienced downsizing 2-3 times in the last 10 years. People are looking for work that never thought they would be….they believed they would be in their careers for the typical 40 years and are having to re-invent themselves. This gives employees the feeling they are not valued at all by their employers, and are just a number to them. When they don’t feel valued, they either become disengaged, or leave. Very often not considered, is the damage done by disengaged employees that stay.
Managers vs Leaders – There is no room in today’s business world for outdated control style management. Unfortunately, this is still prevalent with a lot of ego driven managers who micro manage their employees and thrive on power, intimidation and fear tactics. People will only tolerate this for so long before they become disengaged or leave. The cost of turnover is eating away at company profits.
Millennials entering the workforce is only going to grow. As with any generation, older workers condemn the habits of younger generations, instead of working together to draw on each others strengths. Older workers have experience that younger workers can learn from. Younger workers are very tech savvy and bring a lot of fresh ideas to the table along with being able to assist with tech challenges faced by older workers. The key is learning to work together in an environment of growth for all generations.
Employees today want to feel valued, want to learn, grow and contribute to something meaningful. So, what are some ways to implement Leadership for the 21st century?
-Create leaders, not followers – Trust employees to do their jobs and give them the space to handle challenges that come up. It could be a dissatisfied customer, or making a judgement call. When they have the space to handle the challenge, they take on a higher level of personal responsibility and leadership. A true leader, understands the importance of reaching back to help others grow and are not intimidated by others growth.
-Create an environment of growth – It’s been said if we are not learning and growing, we are dying. Employees today want to continue to learn and grow…if this need is not being met they are not contributing to their full potential. This also contributes to high turnover if employees do not feel they have the capacity to grow in their position.
-Welcome input and new ideas – Give employees the space to give suggestions and be a part of the decision making process. Some of the best, most innovative ideas can come from the least expected people when they are given a chance.
-Don’t micromanage – Give people the space to make decisions, take actions, and be a leader. When people feel they have this freedom in their lives, it gives them a sense of control and fulfillment. It will also translate into how they deal with your customer.
-Offer flexible work environments – If a job can be done from home, offer the option to employees that prove they can handle it. This builds trust and often they will actually put in more work at home, than they would in the office.
-Share the vision of where the company is headed – This gives employees hope and a sense of future, which helps them feel secure. When they feel more secure, they feel more valued.
Leadership today has no room for outdated management styles. Today’s managers need to focus more on leading, not managing, and creating new leaders alongside them. This dramatically increases the growth of a company, while building more personal responsibility within individuals.