Leaders lead humans, not machines
I’m sick and tired of employees that are sick and tired, leaders you need to step up.
I often refer to the term ‘human leadership’ in the workshops I run. As the title suggests it should be obvious leaders are leading humans but I feel this humanistic focus for leaders is sadly lacking. This results in exhausted cultures or, even worse, toxic cultures. I feel many organisations are still going through the motions by having the ‘correct’ policies in place regarding looking after employees.
A Workforce Performing In Survival Mode
Case in point. I recently ran a series of debriefings for a team of leaders using the personal development tool LSI by Human Synergistics. I love the tool. It gives such rich insight into the individual, how they are feeling at a particular time and how they are perceived by those around them. The reason why the debriefs came about is there is conflict in the team.
At first pass, it’s the problems of a couple of individuals…
Dig a bit deeper…
I would say the majority of the team are showing signs of severe stress…
Dig a bit deeper…
Most of the team are working around 65 hrs per week!
No wonder they are stressed. No wondered there is conflict. They are all in survival mode! They are exhausted by a culture that says it’s OK to send work texts late at night, emails at weekends and hold evening meetings. But it’s not OK to push back on deadlines, that would be a ‘career-limiting’ move.
Leaders Need To Embrace A Wider Meaning of ‘Health and Safety’
As a leader, there is a duty of care – both a legally and morally – to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
When we think of ‘safety’ we tend to think of a workplace like a warehouse or factories with machinery. If an employee has been retrenched and had to reapply for their job three times in the last year, do you think they feel safe at work? Nope, they are in survival mode.
When we think of ‘healthy’ it goes beyond supplying apples in the kitchen area. The mental health of your employees is included in the legal and moral responsibility of a leader. If your team are working 65 hrs a week as a norm, they are not going to be healthy on any level both physically and mentally. And, by the way, work-life balance isn’t a complicated concept, just work LESS!
We all know the stats: sick employees cost us money and happy/engaged employees are more creative and productive, Why then I am still coming across sick and tired employees?
I know there are brilliant leaders out there who are truly motivating and caring to their teams and I salute you.
But I say as I reminder to all leaders, you are leading humans, you have a duty of care, take your responsibility wisely.