Do You Trust Me?

Trust is fundamental in the employer-employee relationship. But according to a recent European study, there are problematic gaps in this vital business relationship. Check out this fascinating article in Sales and Marketing Management, which provides further evidence that exasperated employer-employee relationship impacts the ability to translate visions into outcomes. The article states only “38 percent feel that their organization’s vision and strategy are effectively communicated to employees.” If a company expects to consistently execute a strategy, the organization must begin with the basics and address the trust quotient.

To read the article click here.


How to De-motivate People

A saleswoman with a St. Louis advertising company recently shared this motivational gasp with me during a coaching session.

Her sales director wore a Chicago Cubs T-shirt to the company’s weekly sales team meeting. He opened the meeting by stating, “As you know the Chicago Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908. They lost the World Series in 1906, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945. The Cubs are a losing ball club because they don’t work together as team. And, you guys aren’t working together either…”

To make matters worse, this incident took place shortly after the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series while fans were still relishing their team’s victory.

Perhaps the director was trying to be clever and get his team’s attention, but the salespeople only heard, “We’re losers!” The director got their attention, but lost their respect.

Given everything that has been written about effective management, it’s difficult to imagine that some leaders still employ the old “Carrot and Stick” motivational practice in the 21st Century.

Still, this incident provides some lessons:

First, the saleswoman should gently tell the director that his Cub’s analogy really hurt people and rippled wave of anger and apathy throughout the organization. As a senior staff member, she not only has the clout to speak with her boss, others look to her for leadership as well. If someone like her doesn’t speak up, the director will think his tactics are tolerable, and he will continue to practice intimidation.

Secondly, I suspect an underlying fear is stoking the sales director’s angry and pessimistic demeanor. He is probably under pressure to meet his revenue goals. Rather than wearing his anxiety on his sleeve, the director needs to learn how to positively deal with his stress. He needs to recognize that his ill-temper only spawns fear. His people need leadership, not condescending and concealed threats.

Finally, the director should understand that he doesn’t need to try so hard to motivate his people. The very concept of motivation is internal or self-starting. You can't motivate people. A person must choose to motivate himself. (For example, only I could choose to take initiative with my handicap.) This director’s job is to create the circumstances in which his peoples’ inherit motivation—their intrinsic commitment and initiative—is released and focused on achievable goals. Currently, he is just de-motivating his people.


How to find and fix the causes of workplace apathy

What's The Problem Here?

How to find and fix the causes of workplace apathy

The department responsible for maintaining shipping supplies at a mid-sized telecommunications company had done its job — at least, from a numbers standpoint. There were plenty of boxes in the warehouse for shipping the phone systems the company sold. The trouble was: some boxes were white, and some were brown. A minor concern, you’d think. Unfortunately, the discrepancy caused quite a stir.

In the white corner stood the Western-region sales and marketing team. In the brown corner stood the Eastern-region sales and marketing team. Both felt their color preference was best, and both had their reasons. On the floor, there was little sign of unrest. Orders were coming in, paperwork processed and phones shipped as usual. Around the water cooler, though, it was a different story...Read the full article here.


Study: 2 of 5 bosses don't keep word

Nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word and more than a fourth bad mouth those they supervise to co-workers, a Florida State University study shows. The results of the study are scheduled for publication in the Fall 2007 issue of The Leadership Quarterly

The findings include:

•39 percent of workers said their supervisor failed to keep promises.

•37 percent said their supervisor failed to give credit when due.

•31 percent said their supervisor gave them the "silent treatment" in the past year.

•27 percent said their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.

•24 percent said their supervisor invaded their privacy.

•23 percent said their supervisor blamed others to cover up mistakes or to minimize embarrassment.

This study says two things to me:

1. There are plenty of disingenuous bosses out there who just don’t get it. And, they wonder why their people don't make things happen? As this study reveals, many boss have a lot to learn about managing people.

2. A study like this one shouldn't let workers off the hook. I fear that some people use such a study to point the finger of responsibility back at the boss. If a worker has evidence that he is not the only person with a bad boss, he can convince others there is a real, broader problem; and that he is victim of poor management. Sort of a covert way of saying, "See, it's not my fault. I have a terrible boss…". Stewing over bad practices of bosses, keeps all the focus on leadership. Too often, I hear people proclaim "change begins at the top"; suggesting that workers don't have to do anything until the leadership makes the first move—consequently, little gets done! Making anything happen, within an organization, is everyone’s responsibility.