Monday, April 8, 2019

4 Things Employees Need From Any Boss

What happens when a worker doesn't trust the boss?

They consider quitting, finds a new survey. At a time when employers are pulling out all the stops to find talent in a tight job market, this should be of great concern. Not only do these employees have one foot out the door in their minds, it probably won't take much to lure them away if they believe they'll have better career opportunities elsewhere.

Further, the survey finds that a quarter of all young workers doubt whether their contributions are valued -- and that should be another area of great concern according to researchers writing in the Harvard Business Review. 

What research finds is that when employers fail to win over the minds -- and hearts -- of workers, they risk the best and brightest walking out the door. It's not enough to pay workers, because although that matters a great deal, workers want to know that they matter and what they do matters.

Richard E. Clark and Bror Saxberg, writing in HBR, provide insight on the top reasons employees get turned off -- and how bosses can rejuvenate them. None of them seem too difficult, but boy, do bosses get them wrong a lot. Here goes:

1. People think differently. Just look on Twitter on any given day, and you may have a vigorous debate about why Neapolitan ice cream should be outlawed. So it stands to reason that what you care about as a boss is not what an employee cares about when it comes to the job. You have to talk to individual employees to truly understand what they care about in life (helping others,sustainability, education) and connect that to the job they do. "You know, Sharon," says the boss, "I know that you care a lot about Third World issues. Did you know this company is making parts that are used in Third World countries to assemble drinkable water systems? So, every time you help to ensure our inventory is accurate, it helps us make sure those parts get there on time and without additional costs."

2. They need support. Does a garden grow without water or the proper soil? Do children get through school without teachers or parents helping them? So, why would an employee believe he will be successful if new tasks or skills are thrown at him without any guidance or instruction? Bosses need to challenge workers, but not at the expense of their self-esteem. They need to provide support to workers learning new skills or procedures, so that they gain confidence and succeed. If they feel they can't succeed, what's the point in trying? Employees who feel such a sense of defeat will certainly not feel motivated to put their best into the company.

3. They need to be heard. Everyone gets stressed, and sometimes that stress erupts in anger or results in depression. Such situations are not healthy for the worker or the workplace. Always be available to take an employee to a quiet place to listen to their frustrations or concerns, which often result from feeling they are not understood. Once they feel they are being heard, the boss can offer some strategies to build more positive outcomes, and that can re-engage the worker.

4. Sometimes they need help. Even the most qualified workers can run into roadblocks -- problems they believe they can't solve. That's when a boss can step in and see that an employee's own doubts are leading to procrastination or blaming others for the problem. Just talking it through can help. Once an employee begins to explore solutions with a supportive boss, then the roadblocks don't seem insurmountable.

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