One thing I'm noticing and watching closely is a growing relational disconnect between employers and employees. This is apparent in the prevailing viral LI posts, media, and our personal experiences here at ASG.
We believe there is something here for all of us to learn from. We also believe this is intrinsically related to the overall leadership quotient in America.
Employees often fail to understand what employers value and perceive as high-performance. Their view is often myopic, considering too much their own interests and not those they work for.
Employers often fail to understand the importance quality employees place on their goals and personal growth. They can treat people as relatively expendable and utilitarian, forgoing the value of personal connection as if work is only about professional performance. Instead of being a mentor, they are a boss.
To be successful as either an employer or employee, you have to care about people, and properly at that. This is a never-ending learning process. It's complicated, messy, and often exhausting. To be clear, there are MANY fair objections to this broad idea of 'caring about people'.
To understand more about what I mean about 'caring about people' consider reading the book "Love & Profit." The distillation is that caring about people is entirely connected to holding them accountable, even to the point of letting them go.
I'm willing to say that to lead people well, you must care about them.
Success in the workplace, more than ever it seems, is directly connected to people skills no matter where on the org chart one works. Those that can embrace a mindset of winning and losing together can build or participate in great teams. But there is a growing contingent of the workforce and company leaders who fail to understand how important the other is. Corporate layoffs to prop up short-term stock prices on one hand and mercenary job-hopping on the other. Each is out for their own, to the collective long-term detriment.
We have no lack of books on leadership but are we, Americans, losing our grip on what real leadership and teamwork is in the real world? It’s a big deal. Wars are won and lost on leadership quotient.
“The fish rots from the head"
It's not hard to see other failures of leadership. Our politicians obviously and the increasingly polarized positions, many of our hallowed institutions are constantly rocked by scandals, crony capitalism abounds, and a general decrease in the trust we can afford to place in one another. These are connected.
Leadership is the solution. Turn the org chart upside down.
To those struggling to be better leaders at any level, we salute you.