Are You in a Zombie Workplace?
Okay, it’s a little dramatic but it also brings to light a growing trend in the business world today.
Crashing economies, cutbacks, layoffs, and uncertainty leads people to become less engaged in the workplace.
Last year, I wrote about a Forbes magazine article that quotes a Gallup survey stating that over 70% of U.S. workers are less engaged in the workplace.
If that doesn’t shock you, it should! If you are a small business owner with employees, it should also scare you.
Your Business is in Danger
As a business owner, you are especially vulnerable to the consequences of dis-engaged employees. Teams grow divisive; managers treat employees badly; employees treat each other and customers badly; office theft goes up; productivity goes down drastically.
These people come and they go, they do the 9 to 5, they grow through the motions and do the minimum work to get by, and are not fully engaged.
LEADERS are to blame.
Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership -John Maxwell
Six Rules of Engagement
If you are a leader in your environment, here’s some things you can do to fix that and help prevent the zombification of yourself or your employees.
- KNOW YOUR SELF – Too many times, people don’t realize THEY are the problem. You have probably worked for a leader who blames lazy employees, ethnic, racial, or generational cultures, bad economies, and a myriad of other reasons for why things aren’t going well. If you are a leader and your people aren’t following, YOU are the problem. Fix it.
- GROW YOUR SELF – This is how you fix it. You can’t change them, you cannot change things like the economy or anything else beyond your control. What you can do is change YOU. Learn to become more optimistic, learn to develop the characteristics that you are seeking in employees. When I was a manager, I used to brag about how I made a point of hiring people better and smarter than me. That was so wrong. I couldn’t possibly do it. You attract what you are, not what you wish. If YOU grow, you’ll find yourself getting the kind of people you desire.
- KNOW YOUR PEOPLE– Connect with them. It’s through relationships that people build trust, respect, and more like they are a part of things when they feel connected with you. When you can answer the three questions everyone asks in virtually ANY kind of relationship, then you can connect and influence them and they will become engaged. The three questions you must answer are:
- Do you CARE for ME?
- Can you HELP ME?
- Can I TRUST YOU?
- FOCUS ON THE STRENGTHS – Yours and the people you work with. Focus on how you can best use the strengths they have to compensate for your weaknesses and help accomplish the company’s goals. That’s what a TEAM is all about.
- REWARD THE BEHAVIORS YOU WANT – Not a lot of people do this. They spend more time rewarding they don’t like, but you want to spend time rewarding the behaviors you desire. Empower people, trust people, encourage people to accomplish the things you want them to do.
- TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION – when necessary; which is not the same as impulsive action. Don’t react impulsively, take the time to think about the appropriate response and then take the action now. People will respect you more for taking considered, decisive immediate action than if you hem and haw or you are impulsive.