In today’s world, getting the greatest contribution from every employee is crucial to an organization’s success. Research suggests that up to 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs, and Gallup research adds that up to 60% of all employees report some level of disengagement. Trudy Bourgeois, founder of the Dallas-based Center for Workforce Excellence, maintains that bad leadership is to blame.
According to Bourgeois, “Bad leadership is costing billions of dollars every year. Research suggests that disengaged workers cause corporations and organizations lose as much as 312 billion dollars a year. Bad leadership is also the number one reason people leave jobs.”
And Bourgeois speaks from first-hand experience: “I know exactly how it feels to be checked out due to bad leadership. It doesn’t happen suddenly. It occurs over time. With every disrespectful comment, with every put-down, with every recommendation that gets rejected, I found myself withdrawing further and further. After time, the situation seemed unfixable, and I left the company.”
Bourgeois maintains that today’s leaders must face the challenge of adapting to a changing workforce: “People want to build authentic relationships in the workforce and they do not want to work for a leader who is not willing to meet them where they are and honor their expectations and desires.”
Bourgeois offers the following advice:
1. Lead with vulnerability. The secret is out — leaders do not have all the answers. The best leaders are those who are authentic. Today’s employee wants to work with someone that they know is real.
2. Challenge your own assumptions. The secrets to success in the 21st century are flexibility and adaptability. Meet people where they are. Adopt a best practice to ask each employee, and ask these questions: What are their strengths? What motivates them? What factors need to be in place in order for them to thrive in the work environment? How do they learn? These basic questions will provide you with insight on ways to better lead, teach and create an environment where everyone can reach his or her full potential.
3. Be transparent in your communication. Lose the agenda. People need to understand their role and how it adds value to the bottom line.
4. Avoid a one-size-fits-all mentality. One-size-fits-all management or leadership is not effective.
5. Hold everyone accountable — including yourself. There is no excuse for behavior in the work place that does not support inclusion.
Trudy Bourgeois is President/CEO of The Center Workforce Excellence. She is a speaker and consultant, experiential workshop leader and a certified Brain Styles coach.