Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is your leadership talk supported by your actions?

Had lunch with my friend Wilson this week and he recounted what was happening at his workplace that could happen to us and the terrible side effects.
The workplace was doing their annual list of compulsory courses, such as equality, harassment and such. Wilson and his friends sat through the same class as last year and completed the same assessment as last year and were dutifully sent on their way.

The following week coincided with annual salary reviews. The company has been struggling of late and cash-flow was somewhat of a problem. It was no surprise when most employees received a very modest salary increment. I guess we have all been in this situation and are prepared to take it on the chin.

So this week Wilson and his friends were subjected to the final course in their yearly compulsory quota, Ethics - again they went through the usual course and usual assessment and off they went.
Much of this sounds pretty typical and most people went on their way. What the leadership hadn't counted on was the mood of the workplace. Pretty soon the conversation within the workplace got to talking about the leadership's action versus their talk. Soon the questions and statements were flying back and forth, typical of these were:
Why did we put our prices up in line with inflation, yet our salary didn't go up in the same ratio.
Why have we moved so many staff to contract positions but the staff don't have a written contract.
Why do I get asked to constantly do more yet I get no more reward.
Why do we talk about ethics but don't seem to act ethically with our own people.

While many of these questions were a little selfish and short-sighted, the mood of many of the workers was drifting away from the leadership. Funny the leadership team were patting themselves on the back for having completed the new price book and completing the workplace regulatory training.

So my question to you - do you follow your words with supporting actions? Does your team know that you do what you said you would do? Sometimes we need to ask an observer for the feedback to be sure we get the real answer and not the one we want to hear.

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