What are your employees’ reactions?
14 December 2021
Employee reactions over time to leadership are not random. There’s a lot for a leader to learn by really listening and watching their employees carefully for feedback and signs of leadership’s effects.
Everyone has bad days – all of us will probably be a little short if one of kids crashed the family car the night before the big meeting. But the average and consistent employee reaction can’t be always attributed to one-time events like that, or being the new guy, bad intent or laziness. Over time and in the aggregate, employee reactions to leadership are based on fundamental ideas, and they are not based on whim.
- Can the employees trust you? This isn’t the type of test where you ask an employee during yearly review “Can you trust me” – that’s not a fair test. Ask yourself: are your actions consistent? Are they consistent with what you say? Do you see evidence in the fringes of your awareness that maybe your employees hesitate to be open, honest and rely on you?
- Can your employees and investors understand what you do and say? Do you ever field hard questions or have to explain yourself? If not, they probably don’t fully understand.
- Does your vision – call it a story, mission statement, whatever – make sense? Is it worthwhile and better the world in some small way?
- Does the business and each employees’ job create value for them beyond their paycheck?
- Are you truly willing to be the first one, the point, the “leader” in attacking a problem? This does not contradict delegation or distributed control, because a business won’t survive if its leader needs to micromanage every problem. But are you the first one through the door towards the large challenge that sits at the foot of the business’ purpose of being?
It’s easy for all of us to dismiss criticism, a bad reaction, low performance and missed goals as things that are due to the particulars of the employees involved. But that is usually not true – it’s leadership that determines how well a group works together and eventually succeeds.
Learning about leadership, getting support and advice on how to use your skills and intelligence to improve leadership and the success of your employees and business, is a learnable skill and well worth the time and effort.
Share this post with someone who might be interested using the buttons below, or head back to Practical Resources.
Receive ideas like this every week: new articles on leadership and running a business you started.