“The biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet”. –Tim McClure
All managers would like their teams to be more productive. Yet most companies are using the same old methods: strategic plans, goal-setting, streamlining operations, reducing inefficiency. Others are offering employee perks, such as on-site food, daycare, or gyms. Others are offering bigger bonuses or flexible schedules. But according to a research article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, a workplace characterized by positive and honorable business practices excels about these fringe benefits.
Samples of Positive and honorable business practices:
- Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
- Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes.
- Inspiring one another at work.
- Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.
- Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity.
However, whereas I feel positive and honorable business is huge start, it is not enough; the team needs to have the right people in the right seats to create the synergy needed to push the company forward. When you have the right people in the right seats, you can have a culture of accountability, with accountability comes growth.
When you feel that you are going in circles, look to the most passionate people and if they are quiet, that’s the biggest concern for any company. Highly motivated individuals, their participation, their creativity and ideas and their desire to be involved, carry the best of the organization’s culture and establish it in a desirable way as the benchmark of teamwork and participation. These people become the necessary internal energy force to push the business forward.
“Passion is contagious … so is not having it”.
When passionate employees become quiet, usually as a result of some form of a break of trust in leadership, negativity ripples around the organization with the same force that their previous positive energy induced. Suspicion and insecurity clouds the culture and employees retreat into self-protection behavior and they become distracted as they begin to focus on themselves vs. others within the organization. The growing unease disables focus and rumors occupy the theme of most conversations, creating the environment to become dysfunctional.
Motivated employees that ‘become quiet’ when one or more of the following issues are experienced:
- Breach of trust: leadership integrity is paramount to maintaining relationships and keeping people focused and energized. Not living the company values inevitably leads to distrust.
- Lack of leadership consistency: fairness, consistently applied, leads to a growing confidence amongst the staff complement. Employees feel insecure when there is favoritism, nepotism or irregular behavior on the part of leadership.
- Being overlooked: not being listened to, being ignored or contribution not being recognized all lead to apathy. Energy gets sucked out of the system and people lose heart.
- Dishonesty: leadership untruths breed distrust. Employees easily perceive dishonesty and hate any attempts at being conned.
- Insufficient information and communication: where managers withhold pertinent pieces of information for power purposes or fail to communicate adequately with employees, staff feel neglected and worthless.
- Leadership selfishness: big leadership bonuses with small pay increases for employees, benefits and values being ‘customized’ to suit leadership desires, etc.
- Lack of vision: when leadership operates out of a vague sense of direction with little or no communication of an expected future state.
The ‘quietness’ of typically motivated employees is an organizational alarm which leadership needs to recognize and act on.
So if you find yourself in an organization like this, say something vs. becoming quiet as you’re not helping anyone, including yourself by being quiet.