Bill, a top executive at a large company, decides to drop in on a 30-employee department meeting. To inspire the team, he tells them that he’ll support their work on the company’s top three priorities—and even support them if they need to say “no” to nonessential projects.
He leaves amid a refrain of “Thanks, Bill!”
What he doesn’t hear are the scoffing comments that emerge later. “So, what do you think Bill will say when I say ‘no’ to one of his pet projects?”
Leaders may believe they’re “plugged in,” but their words and actions may create a disconnect.
A recent poll by Maritz Research shows that a mere 11% of employees strongly agree that their managers show a consistency between their words and actions. The upshot? Employees see most leaders as lacking credibility.
How plugged in are you? Can you:
1. Write an email without using a single buzzword? Jargon just drives more distance between you and employees.
2. Name at least five challenges your front-line employees face, and how they’re being resolved? If not, go learn.
3. List three examples of an employee actively disagreeing with you in the past month? None? If people aren’t speaking up, you could be stifling conversation.
4. Describe how a major company initiative will benefit employees? If the focus is always on external stakeholders and customers, employees will become less engaged.
5. Name several times when your thinking shifted because of feedback from employees? What you say may not be aligned with what you’re doing.
— Adapted from “reality check: 5 ways to tell whether you’re really in touch,” Jennifer V. Miller, Smartblog on Leadership.
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