They’re Never Satisfied

Once again, Steve is dismayed by the feedback from his staff.  They get a competitive salary, paid vacations, and sick leave.  All of this, yet they are still dissatisfied with Steve’s management style and the overall atmosphere in the office.  In the words of one team member, “It feels like there’s always a dark cloud over this place, he’s never pleased,  people seldom smile and the pressure to perform wears me out.  I know they pay me, but couldn’t the boss say something nice every now and then?”

Comments like that make Steve want to scream.   He feels that work isn’t social time, it’s work. He just want them to do their job.  If they want friends, they can do that on their time.

With all of this going on I wondered about performance.  Well, the team was performing – well let’s say they were hitting or surpassing all the metrics that had been set so as far as Steve is concerned there’s no problem, other than the fact that they’re never satisfied.

We’ve decided to share a few lessons learned from our work with Steve and his team:

  1. When management views pay as a reward/recognition for doing a good job and staff view pay as the obligatory debt you owe for their work, well, let’s just say morale will be impacted.
  2. There are generational differences regarding the meaning and expectations of work.  I spoke with one gentleman, in his 70’s that said, “Hard work will solve anything.”  I spoke to another in his 20’s that said, “I’m not killing myself for a job like my father did.”
  3. If the manager is not a “people” person, they have to leave but they could benefit by finding a “people” person to be a buffer between them and the people.
  4. Study after study proves that people value recognition in the workplace, yes sometimes even more than pay.  May seem counterintuitive, but I’ve seen this with my own eyes.  And for those frugal leaders out there this doesn’t mean to stop paying people a competitive salary – it means don’t expect money to replace the relationship.
  5. Finally, speaking of relationships, people thrive when there’s a real sense of relationship and community in the workplace.  Work environments that are built on the notion that I’m here to get a check are transactional environments.  Work environments that are built on the notion that we’re here to make a difference are transformational.

The lessons above helped Steve and his team strengthen their communication and clarify their expectations of each other.

By the way, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.  You don’t know Steve, but you’ve probably been around a Steve once or twice in your career.

Let’s continue to learn as we grow.

CW

NOTE: Sharing our lessons learned is neither a promotion or denouncement of them,  they are shared as points of information to drive further conversation.  We’d love to hear your feedback.

What lessons have you learned about satisfied and/or dissatisfied team members?  Please share.

It’s Just a Title, Or Is it?

In the past week I’ve spoken with 2 leaders (one in the private sector and one in the nonprofit sector) who don’t care about titles.  They just want the work done, they couldn’t care less about titles.  The problem is their team members care about titles.  Witnessing the exchange between the leaders and team members has been interesting, to say the least.  After much dialogue and consideration, I want to share a few lessons learned that may help you and your team:

  1. If titles aren’t important then don’t include the attainment of titles as part of the performance evaluation/bonus process.
  2. Just because something isn’t important to you, you can’t disregard it as meaningless and petty.  For some, their title is symbolic of their professional achievement.
  3. Titles, in some instances, are used in key word searches on LinkedIn and other platforms that people use to distinguish themselves from the competition.
  4. The right title  at one company can amount to additional income at the next company.
  5. In some companies, the title determines the seat.  The bigger the title, the better the seat.
  6. Don’t let your title define you.  There may be some practical and professional advantages to ensuring your title reflects your role, however; don’t rely on your title as your source of influence.

Let’s continue to learn as we grow.

CW

NOTE: Sharing our lessons learned is neither a promotion or denouncement of them,  they are shared as points of information to drive further conversation.  We’d love to hear your feedback.

What lessons have you learned about titles, in the workplace, that may be of help to others?  Please share.