Employees are your company’s early warning system
27 January 2022
As a group, your employees are like an early warning system for the health of your business, similar to the canary in the coal mine. Happy, engaged, and productive teams signal a business that is run well and profitable. High employee turnover, infighting, getting standard “professional” answers and a lack of engagement signal the opposite.
Yes, there are exceptions: poor fits, dishonest workers, and bad apples. But these are the exceptions, not the rule.
Leadership – the quality of the leader’s decisions and behavior – is the largest factor in how happy, engaged and productive employees are. While the best leaders in the world can’t get people to work for free (usually), the worst leaders in the world can’t pay people to work for them for very long at all.
Individuals in work teams who are struggling usually have different understandings of how the business works and why it exists. So, people’s responsibilities, purpose and reasons behind how leadership behaves isn’t universally understood. Talking to each person separately in a struggling business reveals this quickly, and coordinating job function and making the business purpose and values clear to each person in the business leads to massive improvement in productivity and engagement. Fewer people want to move from the company too.
Practice listening carefully and honestly. Two people might not get along, a department might be having problems, or maybe there’s some employee issues that need some really close, non-judgmental attention to understand, and there are probably things you can do as a leader to improve the problems that you see.
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