Today’s work environment — with the hard-won, slow growth of the economy and difficult-to-fill positions staying open during lengthened recruiting cycles — is fraught with pressures and workloads that are unique to the times and affect all of us. It is in this environment that each of us must choose how we’ll prioritize and manage each day, week, month and year.
Stepping back, we all know that as Managers we set the tone for the work environment, shaping the culture by what we do and how we do it. But, in the heat of the workday, we sometimes underestimate or lose sight of our impact, and allow ourselves to react in ways that can undermine the positive impact we want to make on our organizations.
It can be easy for us as human beings to fall into a narrowed, case-by-case perspective as we move through our workdays, in which we decide it’s ok for us to show our more destructive feelings, rather than managing our responses for the greater good. Further, as leaders during such challenging economic times, we often delay vacations, which exacerbates our fatigue and inevitably impacts our ability to apply big picture thinking.
But, as leaders, we need to be ever-vigilant about building and sustaining attitudes that nurture a positive and energized spirit among the people around us. We are always leading, and we are always sending messages that impact how people feel. And, it’s feelings that drive performance. Let us remind ourselves and one another of the impact we have as we make even the smallest of choices and form our own work habits day by day.
Following are some examples of behaviors that can dilute or dry up positive energy in people to adversely impact organization performance, short or long term.
1. Multi-task when someone is talking to you individually or at a group meeting.
2. Interrupt or re-schedule employee one-on-ones for phone calls, people walking in, or conflicting meetings you allow to take precedent.
3. Roll your eyes, use sarcasm, make negative comments or display anger, frustration or disrespect for an employee, peer, customer or senior manager.
4. Don’t stand up for one of your people.
5. Allow a member of your team to be bullied by one of your peers who is powerful politically.
6. Deliver performance reviews at the last minute or after the company deadline.
7. Include negative feedback on a performance review without having given the employee opportunity to correct it during the performance period.
8. Practice “exception management:” focus primarily on employee missteps rather than on recognizing (and leveraging) employee strengths.
9. Withhold assignments that offer positive visibility from a newer employee while providing such opportunities to long term, favorite employees.
10. Micro-manage your people.
11. Share information on a need-to-know basis.
12. Forget to provide an employee with information or support required for his success.
These ubiquitous behaviors foster negativity and generate long term employee disengagement. We all know that disengagement has a domino effect throughout organizations, as well as creating thorny customer experiences.
But, the good news is, a single skill can help leaders to overcome some of the above often-habitual behaviors: Self-Regulation. With focus and with practice, we can learn to recognize this behavior in ourselves as it happens, and to take mitigating steps. Soon, this awareness enables us to notice we’re about to take one of these actions, in time to prevent it, and to replace it with a constructive one. And then, good changes can happen, as a new, positive energy fills our work spaces.
Chances are, most of us have exhibited some of these behaviors ourselves. Which have you observed in yourself or others? What additional behaviors would you add to this list? What are your ideas to help managers to foster a positive, high performance environment?
Self-Regulation – A Critical Strength LINK: https://rosannamnadeau.com/2021/05/10/self-regulation/
Copyright 1/10/2021 by Rosanna M Nadeau
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