Tag Archives | Trust

The Authenticity Factor

Keep it real concept.To what degree are you genuine and authentic with your work colleagues – bosses, peers, and team members – in daily interactions?

Dictionary.com defines authentic as “not false or copied; genuine; real.”

If we ponder how our great bosses behaved with us, it is extremely likely that they were real. They demonstrated authentic care and service to us.

They interacted with no hidden agendas. There was no smoke and mirrors; there was simply honest discussion, transparent decision-making, and in-depth engagement.

Our great bosses kept their commitments, delivering on their promises. If they were unable to keep their commitments, they told us why, well in advance of the deadline. They also explained how they were trying to get back on track, as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, leaders that demonstrate authentic care are not the norm. For example, TinyHR’s 2014 engagement and culture survey found that 49% of employees are not satisfied with their direct supervisor.

In my work with clients around the globe, I hear about team member’s frustrations with their leaders all the time. These frustrations are often founded on the leader’s lack of consistent authenticity. Employees tell me, “I don’t know which boss is going to show up each day – Jekyll or Hyde.” Or “She says one thing then turns around and does the exact opposite. We see it every day.”

If leaders don’t demonstrate behavioral integrity – keeping their promises and modeling the organization’s espoused values – they erode team members’ commitment and contribution. Tony Simons’ excellent book, The Integrity Dividend, found that employee’s commitment goes up with observed behavioral integrity from their leaders. That causes employees to apply discretionary energy in service to their organization’s customers and goals.

The benefit? For one hotel chain, $250,000 annual profit growth for every 1/4 point gain on a 10 point scale!

There is another benefit to the leader’s authenticity. When leaders demonstrate authentic care, team members are much more likely to demonstrate authentic care with each other.

The coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, is a player’s coach – team members love to play for him. He’s authentic and genuine. One way his genuineness plays out is that Popovich often devotes a portion of team meetings to the culture and history of team members.

Last June, in the midst of preparations for the championship series with the Miami Heat, Popovich opened a meeting by leading a team discussion about Mabo Day. Point guard Patty Mills – an indigenous Australian native – was surprised and honored by the coach’s actions.

Popovich believes that knowing one another’s stories off the court binds team members together on the court. “It builds camaraderie. They feel connected and engaged and do better work.”

Authenticity matters. Genuine care matters. Be real, be honest, be available, be present. Only then can you build positive relationships, serve others consistently, and inspire aligned behavior and contribution.

How did your great bosses demonstrate authentic care? How well do you know your colleagues’ history and stories? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Want hands-on guidance for boosting productivity while reducing drama at work? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, meets one-morning-a-month starting in April.

Photo © creative soul – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Do Happy Employees Matter?

Happy African-American BusinessmanHow happy are team members in your organization today? Are they enthused, optimistic, engaged, cooperative, and creative – or not so much?

This week I learned of a colleague’s recent conversation with a CEO of a global firm. The discussion revolved around increased turnover in their company – and not “beneficial” turnover. They were losing talented leaders and team members. That’s a problem.

Exit interviews revealed that these players didn’t feel valued. They saw the company as exclusively focused on results, not on the organization’s original “serve others” purpose.

Their Chief Talent Officer suggested doing an engagement survey to learn what the rest of their global workforce thought about these issues. The CEO boldly replied, “I don’t care about happy employees! I just want these people to produce!”

[stunned silence]

I believe that this CEO isn’t alone in his belief about happy employees. It’s an assumption that many senior leaders hold. These leaders grew up among bosses that held and acted from that same belief.

It’s all they know.

How might one seek to influence a senior leader with this belief? How might one inspire that leader to not only understand the benefits of employee engagement and happiness but to actively encourage it?

I’ve found success with a combination of these elements:

  • Show them the data. This particular CEO wasn’t influenced by the exit interview data from his own departing talent. So, you’ve got to gather reliable, undeniable data that leaves the leader with no choice but to try more employee-friendly practices and policies. Internal data – like this organization’s exit interviews – will have the most impact. A regular, organization-wide engagement survey is a needed foundational piece of internal data. Look at simple, fast feedback solutions for internal data like TinyPulse. Present them with key insights from current engagement research from organizations like Gallup, Kenexa, and others.
  • Show them the money. Happy, engaged employees produce better results and profits than disengaged employees. Research by Dale Carnegie found that companies with engaged employees outperform companies without engaged employees by up to 202%. Research from Towers Watson found engaged companies have 6% higher profits than disengaged companies.
  • Show them it works. Do your own employee engagement research, “under the radar.” Find a willing leader of a distinct, intact business unit who will let you “experiment” for a year. Start with an engagement survey to get a “happiness” benchmark. Note performance of individuals and teams to get performance benchmarks. Identify policies and practices that pit people against each other and refine them so they encourage cooperative interaction. Set clear values standards for treating everyone with trust, respect, and dignity. Create open communications across teams and across levels so everyone feels fully informed. Stick with it. Within six months you’ll see upticks in engagement, service, and results. Compare this “skunk works” unit’s performance with other units performance, and you’ll find impressive gains. Share these results with your senior leaders, over and over again.

Will these approaches help every senior leader to “get” and support employee engagement? No, but you’ll have living proof that happy employees are worth their weight in gold.

How important is employee engagement, happiness, and well-being in your organization? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © Kurhan – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No Room for Bullying

Business TeamDoes bullying happen in your work environment? New research by the Workplace Bullying Institute reveals that it is likely.

72% of Americans are aware that workplace bullying happens. Of those, 27% have experienced workplace bullying personally and 21% have witnessed abusive treatment of players in their work environment.

Workplace bullying is a global phenomena. Ellen Cobb’s excellent 2012 research outlines global incidence, impact, and attempts to address workplace bullying in countries around the world.

This infographic outlines the “lowlights” of the 2014 US Workplace Bullying Survey.

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry underscores the long-term costs of childhood bullying. The harmful effects can extend for decades after the initial bullying! The study found that effects include lower levels of education, greater physical and mental health problems, and poor social functioning throughout victims’ lives.

Bullying – in or out of the workplace – erodes trust, erodes confidence, reduces performance, and creates health problems.

How do employers respond to workplace bullying? The WBI survey found that 25% of US employers believe workplace bullying doesn’t happen in their companies. They do not investigate complaints.

16% of US employers discount the impact of workplace bullying; they know about it but believe it’s not a big deal. 15% rationalize it – these US employers believe that workplace bullying is a routine way of doing business (!).

11% of US employers defend workplace bullying, particularly when the perpetrators are executives and managers. 5% of US employers encourage it, believing it is necessary to be competitive today.

Only 12% of US employers act to eliminate workplace bullying. Another 6% condemn it through zero-tolerance policies and procedures.

What can you do? First, learn what resources are available to you. The Workplace Bullying Institute provides tools and services for individuals and employers.

Second, build a foundation of trust and respect in your work team. You don’t have to fix your whole division or company – just aim at improving your work team’s environment.

Most teams and companies focus exclusively on getting production done – not on the quality of the work environment. You can change that dynamic by crafting “great citizenship” guidelines for all team members.

Outline the values, behaviors, and norms that will enable work team dignity and respect. Make your values measurable (this post can help you). Invite team members to help refine those behaviors. Then publish them. Ask every team member to model them, praise them when others model them, and coach others when they see misaligned behavior.

These steps can create workplace inspiration – and eliminate bullying within your team, one step at a time.

What do you think? Does your employer act to eliminate bullying or even condemn it, or not so much? How does your work team address abusive conduct today? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/yanc. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Contented Workers

Wellbeign at WorkHow happy are your company’s employees? The Gallup organization recently revealed the results of their research on the US communities with the most contented workers.

The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index measures respondents’ perceptions in six areas:

  • Life Evaluation: Present life situation and anticipated life situation
  • Emotional Health: Daily feelings and mental state
  • Work Environment: Job satisfaction and workplace interactions
  • Physical Health: Physical ability to live a full life
  • Healthy Behavior: Engaging in behaviors that affect physical health
  • Basic Access: Feeling safe, satisfied, and optimistic within a community

Gallup and Healthways survey 500 Americans each day. They’ve conducted the Well Being Index since January 2008. The Well-Being Index is being updated in 2014 to assess respondents’ perceptions in five areas that analysis showed would be better measures of well-being. We’ll see these new focus areas in results issued next year.

The community with the most contented workers was Provo-Orem, Utah, with an overall well-being score of 71.4 on a 100-point scale. Rounding out the top three communities are Boulder, CO (with a score of 71.3) and Ft. Collins-Loveland, CO (71.1).

The three communities with the least contented workers are Huntington-Ashland, KY/WV/OH (this metropolitan area spans portions of three states) with a score of 59.5, Charleston, WV (60.0), and Redding, CA (62.0).

Numerous studies of well being and employee engagement prove that employees with high engagement and well being produce more, innovate more, and serve customers better.

What can leaders do to boost employee well being in these six areas?

Company leaders can influence communities to enact policies that inspire residents to engage in healthy activities. Getting communities to enact policies might take awhile.

Company and team leaders can certainly work to ensure job satisfaction and healthy workplace interactions. Check out my free ChangeThis manifesto to learn how.

Team leaders don’t need a formal mandate. They can enact informal approaches that inspire team members to embrace healthy activities. Arranging lunchtime or mid-afternoon walks with interested team members can inspire physical activity. Enrolling a team in a charity walk can inspire bonding, service, and physical health.

Bringing in a yoga teacher and providing space for interested team members to do a class before or after work is increasing in popularity.

Learning new and interesting things can be as simple as bringing in outside experts for lunchtime presentations. A nutrition expert can demonstrate simple, healthy meal preparation or inform about the season’s freshest produce.

Team leaders are only limited by their own assumed constraints. If they think healthy living is something team members must do on their own, they won’t try some of these approaches. If they believe that everyone (including themselves) can benefit from exposure to healthier practices, they’ll be creative with some of these approaches.

You want to create a variety of healthy approaches for team members. Don’t mandate these activities – simply make them available, easy, and interesting.

By arranging participation in these and similar activities, your own well being – and that of team members – will grow, right before your eyes.

What do you think? How contented are you? How contented are your work peers, today? How can leaders inspire healthier opportunities daily to boost well being and engagement? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned teams and organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/olm26250. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Character Matters

Ethics Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.Two recent news items caught my eye. Both shed light on the critical importance of character in organizations.

The first story came from a designer named Jordan who was thrilled to get a job at one of the most successful technology companies on the planet. He felt like getting an offer from this company validated his talent as a designer.

On-boarding was “super bumpy.” The long commute and rigid hours meant Jordan hardly ever saw his new daughter during the week. It took nearly a month to receive his credentials to log in to the main server.

There were meetings all the time, which inhibited everyone’s productivity. But, Jordan thought, meetings are a “necessary evil in a company that’s so large with such high-quality products.”

Then Jordan’s immediate boss began making direct and indirect insults to him. The boss reminded Jordan that his contract wouldn’t be renewed if he missed performance standards. The boss’ habit of making personal insults shrouded as jokes to anyone below him meant all of Jordan’s team members received the same treatment.

It didn’t make Jordan feel appreciated or valued. The jokes, insults, and negativity from his boss distracted Jordan from getting work done. Jordan “desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive” and he “dreaded Sunday nights.”

When Jordan’s boss hit him with yet another weird low-blow insult, Jordan made the decision to leave his lousy boss – and he quit.

The second story described how the number of US soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years. The number of officers who left the Army has tripled and the number of enlisted soldiers forced out has doubled.

There is no question that long, repeated deployments to the front lines have placed great burdens on the Army’s soldiers and their leaders. And, as General Ray Odierno (the Army’s top officer), explained, “Sometimes in the past, we’ve overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment.”

Other branches of the US military have experienced high profile scandals (sexual assault, mistreatment of the enemy, etc.), so it’s not just the Army that has suffered these character issues.

In the high-tech company, the boss’ character was revealed in the serial mistreatment of staff members. In the US Army, character issues have caused leaders and soldiers to be tossed out of the service.

These stories note character issues with ONE high-tech company leader and character issues with a very small percentage of Army personnel (in 2013, 387 officers and 11,000 soldiers). There are thousands of high-tech company leaders, Army officers, and Army soldiers that demonstrate impeccable character as well as high competence and high commitment.

And – when ANY leader or team member in your organization demonstrates low character, it erodes team member well being. It erodes confidence. It inhibits performance. It quashes the application of discretionary energy by team members. It damages your organization’s reputation.

Character matters. Demand it. Model it. Observe it. Celebrate it.

What do you think? What character issues have you experienced with bosses or team members over your career? How do your best bosses model great character? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/feverpitched. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris plays all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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