“We’ve been working with a marketing consultancy and they’ve come up with some values and a mission statement for the company. Here’s what they are [points to the screen] – we’ve spent a lot of money on this so please memorise them…..OK, everyone got it? Right, let’s move on to the sales figures for last month. Geoff, over to you.”
It’s an imaginary scenario but probably not far from the truth in many cases. There’s a cognitive transferral (of information) but no emotional connection. There’s a desire to get back to the numbers. People are told but not sold!
Feelings play a huge role in business success. If the infrastructure of the business is a machine you also need the spark to ignite that machine, fuel to power it and lubrication to keep the wheels turning smoothly to produce those numbers.
This is where effective leaders play their part. They recognise the importance of emotion as a driver of business success. They display emotional intelligence and encourage it in others. They apply emotional labour, adapting their behaviours to get the most from their employees. Leaders create the right climate for success, where people feel the right feelings, such as:
Connection – between ‘the management’ and the rank and file, between different departments within the business, between the focus of the company and the needs of its customers.
Meaning – employees want to feel that their work, however routine, actually makes a difference to people. That’s another ‘connection’ – their daily efforts with the company purpose.
Appreciation – people want to feel valued, that the work they do is recognised and appreciated.
Progress – people want to feel they’re somehow moving forward, growing in some way (in skill, knowledge, career, confidence). Is the company winning (as a result of their contribution)?
Fun – you can take your work seriously but still have some fun. Work should be enjoyable. Everyone needs to decompress and feel safe to let down their hair.
Authenticity – are people bringing their game face to work, or do they feel able to reveal their true self? Faking it can be an exhausting business, all that ‘surface-acting’. Perhaps your culture encourages inauthentic behaviour.
Creativity – do people feel safe to come up with new ideas? When they do, what happens to those ideas?
Empowerment – do employees feel constricted and micro-managed, or trusted to get the job done?
Involvement – are changes imposed on people or do you involve them?
Inspiration – do you make people feel they’re capable of more than THEY think they are?
Well-being – do people feel in good shape, physically and mentally?
In the main title I imply that these emotional considerations are often considered ‘soft’, much like the skills needed to bring them about. What a terrible term! The soft things in your business are incredibly hard to get right. I leave you with this thought:
“If you are in a leadership position in your organisation, are you encouraging these feelings – or is it time for some climate change?”
(The main image features one of my long-standing clients, quantity surveying firm Poole Dick, a group of people who take the squidgy stuff seriously!).