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As a person working in the field of careers and job search, I have spent a lot of time observing and contemplating the Great Resignation and the Great Outsourcing. – movements that fundamentally disrupt employment models and mentalities and create what some see as a workforce crisis.
There could be a lot of debate about how we got here, but for me, the issues stem from two key concepts: value and trust.
After going through over 18 months of turmoil, uncertainty, and in many cases personal trauma and loss, people hit the reset button and reevaluate absolutely everything. One of the questions they ask themselves is, “Why should I even think about working for a company that doesn’t make me feel valued and in many ways doesn’t embrace and reflect my values?” fundamental? “
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Don’t think that people who have been through these “a-ha” moments will be easily drawn to a little more money. People want to feel like they are spending their time in a meaningful way, and now the scales have really tilted in their favor.
So let’s talk about the issue of trust. On September 21, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made this a central theme of his Dreamforce 2021 keynote. He believes we are in a “crisis of confidence” and that only by creating kinder businesses. and more responsible than we can transcend it. I support his view that organizations urgently need to focus on building, as he put it, “a new, trusted business”.
Of course, trust is a broad concept. But here’s my take on how and why it matters in the workplace and what can go wrong if there isn’t.
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Eliminate the People’s Police
Consider the structure of a typical midsize to large business: a middle management layer is sandwiched between the management team and most other employees. The reason is that these people give the management team time to focus their attention where they need it without worrying about day-to-day operations. But too often these middle managers become the “people’s police” and much of the workforce ends up feeling isolated and under surveillance. And, in our new culture of remote working, it’s easier than ever for micromanagement to deploy.
It is an unwanted recipe for feelings of disconnection and resentment.
We are now at the point where we cannot ignore the fact that these long established hierarchical organizational structures no longer serve us well. I would say that has been the case for many years, but in a pandemic world, these approaches are simply no longer suited to their purpose.
In an economy where employees have become a scarce and precious commodity, companies must say “no” to micromanagement. In the eyes of job seekers, this is only seen as surveillance – and at worst, espionage.
On the other hand, when people feel like you trust them, they’ll want to work for you. – and they will do a good job. It really is that simple.
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Keep an eye on productivity metrics
That’s not to say companies should pull out altogether. Leaders should strive to set mutually agreed-upon expectations, deliverables, timelines, boundaries, productivity metrics, and feedback loops, but they should be careful not to overcook them.
In my business, I am just concrete with my team. We have very detailed meetings at the start of each quarter so that everyone knows what our vision is and what goals we are trying to achieve. Of course, these goals can change, but this is also discussed and agreed – together.
That’s it. Everyone then has all the freedom in the world to do what they want, when they want and where they want, as long as the job is done.
And if someone needs something from me, I expect them to ask me, but they also expect me to provide their help.
Strong leadership is about being heavy on confidence and responsiveness, but light on “planing” and controlling people. If you want people to feel empowered and trusted, give them space, but also let them know that you always have them behind them.
Japanese monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki probably put it best: “Giving your sheep or cow a large spacious pasture is the way to control it. the best policy. Ignoring them … is the worst policy. The second worst is to try to control them. The best is to watch them … without trying to control them.