Most of us are familiar with the most recent Gallup Poll about employee engagement. The numbers have somewhat improved but still not where they should be to make a favorable impact on employees’ engagement on organizational and individual performance.
Richard who came through the ranks in the hotel business, landed the Assistant General Manager position with a previous company I was working with. His resume reflected a hard working manager who accomplished a lot ever since he graduated college.
He started his career in the banquets department and shortly after that continued his career in the food and beverage department becoming more familiar with restaurant operations and spending the last couple of years in the rooms’ management side of the hotel operations.
Richard was the “number cruncher” with excellent analytical skills that served him well into becoming an executive manager. It was definitely a strength.
The part that was missing and reflected in our culture was his level of engagement or lack of building relationships with each manager on the team. It was echoed in our weekly meetings and daily huddles that people were just not looking forward to.
To make matters worse he spent most of his time in his office. “Management by walking around” was well before his time, but for some reason, he did not believe it was important. He also did not invest enough time to train new managers who came on board to join the team.
We all felt there was a “distance” he was trying to maintain. He was not aggressive by no means but expected people to come to his office instead of him getting to know not only the management team but the hourly staff.
Competence does not equal engagement. It’s about people and relationship. How many of us can name a relative of your co-worker or an employee? How many of us can remember employee’s birthday or a special occasion?
Many employees and managers still feel stressed, overwhelmed with doing more with less. But there lack of meaning and purpose is still rampant in many places you go to. Just go to the nearest grocery store or a retail store. You will sense the disconnect, not only inside the organization but the relationship with the customer.
Why is this still happening in an age where we are more socially connected and more aware about the need for better engagement and leadership?
Engagement is delegated to Human Resources–Many companies defer the aspect of employee wellness and culture to the Human Resources Department where it should really take place with the leaders of the organization. Employee engagement is a leadership opportunity and should not be delegated to a department.
Everyone should be responsible in some way to foster and cultivate the company culture. I sat in a meeting recently and the topic was the results of several employees’ feedback and the top leadership was absent. They thought it was an HR “thing”
Emails are not relationships-Many managers make the mistake of exchanging emails to create a “relationship” with their employees. Too often, people underestimate the human side of the business which involves face to face communication and creating a safe space for open dialogue instead of how someone can potentially misinterpret an email. You can’t lead and coach anyone through an email no matter how savvy your communication is.
The Corner Office Syndrome-Many managers dream of having their own office one day and to some is a symbol of status. However, it is more of an illusion than anything else that comes with it. The best managers walk around and talk to people. They know their names, they engage and get a pulse of what is going on in their operation.
I had a manager who always preached customer service but never came out to talk to even one customer the whole day. You have to lead by example and others will follow your lead.