In this challenging business economy, even the best leaders may be too distracted by the crisis of the moment to think about the big picture – namely, creating work environments that foster collaboration and high employee morale, factors that lead to innovation, strategic problem-solving and long-term success. If your boss is falling down on these leadership responsibilities, lend her or him a hand.
Kelly recently expressed such frustrations about her boss. She took the job because of the collaborative environment he fostered, but lately she feels he has been slacking in that area. “We used to have team lunches nearly every day,” she told me. “We’d look for ways to help each other. Someone once shared a great product idea, which prompted a dialogue about cost-effective ways to manufacture it. And it’s been successful on the market.” But three years later, these lunches are rare. “When we do meet, we’re not in it as a team. We’re in it for ourselves and lack a common vision.”
“Do you think your boss sees the disconnect?” I asked.
“No. I made sure he knows how important I think it is to have a collaborative environment, but he doesn’t see it as a priority.”
This change had affected Kelly’s job satisfaction and her confidence in the company. “I want to see a plan for the future,” she explained. “The vast majority of the company is about to retire. If we don’t have a plan, how can we know who to recruit or what we want new hires to do?”
Bingo! Kelly had just put her finger on one of the greatest problems companies are facing today. With a large percentage of the population about to retire, organizations that do not prioritize collaboration and information-sharing among workers risk losing knowledge, processes and success secrets when seasoned workers leave. Rather than starting off with the solid base these experienced professionals could provide, younger employees will have to figure it out for themselves, costing companies countless hours and dollars.
Kelly had explained this fear to him, but he didn’t seem to care, so she was ready to start job hunting. While I understood Kelly’s frustrations, I knew that the community, vision and ownership she once had at this company mattered to her – far more than the money. “It’s clear that your boss isn’t putting effort into bringing the team together,” I told her. “So, why don’t you?”
“That’s his job!” she insisted. But after a bit more consideration, she said, “I’ll think about it.”
Two months later, Kelly brought her four colleagues together to discuss re-building their collaborative work environment. To her surprise, they all wanted the same thing. They began inviting the boss to lunch and reestablished the sense of teamwork they all wanted. Kelly even put together a “fun committee” to lighten the mood in the office. And Kelly is now being considered for a promotion. Everybody wins!
If you don’t like the way your boss is running things right now, be like Kelly. Do something about it!
Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations
P.S. Reserve your autographed copy of my forth-coming book, Hidden Heroes, today! Click here to secure your order.