Have you ever had a job that you hated? That you dreaded so much you didn’t want to leave your house in the morning?
I had one of those jobs. In those days, it was called telephone soliciting. I sold aluminum siding over the telephone. I didn’t know how much it actually cost or even what aluminum siding was. I didn’t know who owned the company or what happened once a live person showed up at their house.
Even with those factors, I was able to develop relationships with people on the phone and was the highest performer in the office. I got more appointments that led to more sales than anyone else, and got the biggest commission checks.
But I hated that job, I was bored, the manager was just a time keeper, listened in our phone calls, and we weren’t allowed to talk to each other. She even timed our bathroom breaks, she yelled at us, told use how incompetent we were, and I only knew the name of one other person in the whole company.
One day I walked away, I could not take it any more. No
one ever called to find out where I was, perhaps they didn’t even know that I was gone. Maybe they still think I work there, thirty years later.
Like a lot of other employees, all I did was do my job, and could care less about the company. Although it was easy and there was potential to keep growing my income, the money wasn’t enough. I had no relationship to the rest of the company or the people in it. I lost my motivation to be successful to do my best work.
How many of your employees are saying, “I just do my job?”
How many have walked away and you’re still paying them? How many are still there but have retired in place?
When is the last time you took an interest in your employees? When was the last time, you spoke an employee that you didn’t know and asked them their name? When was the last time you asked one of your employees what they liked about working in your company?
I recently spoke with Luisa, a former chef at one of the top restaurants in the US. She told me how much she loved cooking, but how much she hated the place she worked. No one spoke to her, the owner never asked for her name or even said hello. She was miserable. After a while she lost her motivation to do her best work and eventually left the organization.
There was an old assumption that it wasn’t necessary for employees to like “the boss,” or feel included in the organization.
I’ve heard managers say, “I don’t care if my employees hate me. They just need to do their jobs and be glad they had one. Why do I have to constantly tell them they are good at their job? No one ever told me, and look how well I did”
We need to put those old ideas to rest. For employees to love to do their best work, they need to like where they are, and they need to like the way you lead.
With so much demographic diversity, diversity of thought and diversity of talent, as a leader you need to know how to leverage all that human diversity, and how to make your employees feel included. If they like you and the organization, they will like their work, and they will pass those “good vibes, ” on to your customers.
Here are three “Inclusionist,” insights that all leaders need to keep in mind when you envision your organizational culture and develop your strategy.
1- Employees who are engaged, and feel like they are part of a workplace community are happy and most productive
2- Employees need to know the mission and vision of the organization, and how their work contributes the organization’s success
3- When employees feel included, and are given opportunities to offer ideas, and leverage their diverse skills and talents, they engage their customers, who in turn love to do business with you and also tell their colleagues, friends, and families to buy your products and services.