With the NCAA basketball tournament underway, business leaders have turned their attention to the potential lost productivity due to employees watching the games. Challenger, Gray and Christmas have once again released their report indicating that businesses may lose up to $1.2 Billion dollars per hour in lost productivity. Now, that might be bad but I think leaders have an even bigger problem to face than a 2 week basketball tournament.
The bigger problem challenging leaders the other 50 weeks of the year is how to get engaged employees. In the latest Gallup survey, 87% of workers worldwide are disengaged in the workplace. Why do you think they are watching a basketball tournament? I would pose that this lack of engagement is far more harmful to business productivity and profit than the 2 week basketball diversion.
Leaders all over the world struggle with just how to impact this topic of engagement. What is it anyway? I just want to make it simple for all of us to understand. So, here goes: An engaged employee wants to be at work and is willing to do the work without complaining every minute of the day.
Why They Are Disengaged
So, what’s happening once people begin a job that causes 87% of the employees to become disengaged? After all, new employees come in the door enthusiastic, energetic, and motivated ready to go forth and conquer. What’s killing the energy?
I believe the answer is actually quite simple. The culprit is poor managers. Study after study continues to show that the number one reason people quit is because they cannot stand working for their existing manager for even one more day.
You can invest in all the free food, exercise centers, game boards, and great locations you want. But, at the end of the day, all of these great benefits can be destroyed by a manager who just doesn’t understand that they are the real source of motivation and inspiration for their people.
The Problem with Managers
I’m not saying that managers are bad people. The vast majority of managers are awesome people. They were great individual contributors. They work long and hard. They demonstrate great attitudes. They want to win and excel. That’s not the real problem.
Albert Einstein said that “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” is the ultimate definition of insanity. And, I think that’s the reason we have so many poor managers.
Here’s what we do. We promote great individual contributors. We put them in charge of a group of people and we tell them to lead the team. Then, we shake their hand and walk away.
We don’t give them one minute of training that teaches them how to motivate, inspire, encourage, and lead people. We expect them to figure it out themselves.
And, we’ve been letting them figure it out for themselves for decades now. How insane is that?
After all, that’s probably how you learned how to lead yourself. You tried stuff. You failed. You tried new stuff and so on and so on. Fortunately, if you are a manager and are reading this, you have survived so far.
But, how long will you survive if you don’t get your employees excited about their job? It’s just a matter of time before you will have enough turnover that you become a turnover statistic yourself.
Stop the Madness!
It’s time to stop the madness. Let’s start training managers on how to lead, motivate, inspire and encourage people. The job is too important to leave up to chance.
(Article written by Steve Caldwell, author of “Manager Mojo – Be the Leader Others Want to Follow.” He is CEO of Predictive People Analytics, San Francisco.)