Lately, I’ve been worried. As I work with clients and stand back to notice the overall trends in workload, expectations and engagement, I notice that we seem to be losing some of the care and concern for people.
I worry that we might be losing our humanity in leadership. The part where we remember that our people are collaborating for a common goal, where we leave our families daily to serve others and make something bigger and better than what we could achieve alone. And that we bring our whole selves to work – our spirit, minds, hands and hearts. Where kindness counts, and where we can and should expect to achieve a sense of growth and contribution through service.
I worry that the daily pressure leaders experience to deliver unprecedented results for their organisations can lead to the temptation to make decisions which, in big increments or small, continually prioritise profits over people.
I worry that this manifests in unsustainable workloads, cutting back on investments in people, less face-time with our teams in favour of other demands, and investing in system and structural solutions rather than the creativity of our people. The overall effect is employee perceptions that leaders don’t care about them as people, and that they aren’t valued for the unique gifts they bring.
In its latest survey of 32,000 employees in 26 countries including Australia, international professional services company Towers Watson found that only 44 per cent of Australian employees surveyed said their leaders were effective.
Let’s assume that we ourselves are not immune from those statistics – that means more than half of our team is likely to believe that our leadership could improve. Look around at your team – more than half. Sobering, right?
So, what is to be done? How do we recover the humanity in business, while staying in business? It starts with us as leaders, right here and right now. It starts with understanding that our job is not to do more or get more, but to be more. We need to be more present, be more certain in our leadership and be of service to our teams.
It’s time to remember that our job as leaders is to serve – our job is to give and not to take, take and take some more. To stand in the present moment, even and especially when the shizzle is hitting the fan, and ask “how can I serve my team in this situation?”. To understand that people respond to kindness, and to model care and concern when the pressure is really on.
If we’re to reignite the humanity in business, it’s starts with us as leaders. And it starts right now. How are you going to serve your team today?
If you’re interested in this idea, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Hooked on Leadership program at www.hookedonleadership.com.au