Senior Managers - 4 December 2007
In every country there is a massive preoccupation with how well the economy is running. If there’'s a recession, governments get kicked out. If there’'s a boom, governments get re-elected.
However, many people have made millions during horrible economic times while others have squandered millions during times of prosperity. This is because it'’s not the state of the economy that determines people'’s wealth, but their own actions, behaviours, and thoughts -– their personal responsibility –- which drives their success. And yet people blame the government'’s handling of the economy for their financial misfortune.
The equivalent of the government at work is the senior management team. It'’s so much easier for us to blame our senior managers for staff disengagement. It'’s so much easier to complain that our executives don'’t spend enough money on people, that they're unapproachable, or that they care more about numbers than they do about employees.
As a result, we grossly overestimate the impact that senior managers have on engagement in the same way that we overestimate the impact the government has on our personal wealth. We end up neglecting the reality that it is us, the direct supervisors of those that report through to us, who are ultimately responsible for the engagement of our employees.
The acts of providing sincere recognition, forging great relationships, developing people, utilising employees'’ natural talents, building careers - these are all independent of your senior management team. You can do these without any authority whatsoever.
Sure, it helps when a senior management team is people-focused. But you can still have high levels of employee engagement even when terrible senior management exists. The converse, however, is not true. You can have the best senior management team around, but without strong front-line supervisors with a high degree of emotional intelligence, the goal of employee engagement is unattainable.
Dr Stephen Covey sums it up with his profound quote: "“If you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem”." Employee engagement starts with us and ends with us.
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