Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?
Thermometers measure the temperature, hot or cold. In human terms, and particularly in a company’s human resources department, this is where you find out what’s happening with employees: how their work and careers are going, what they may be concerned about and how it affects group dynamics.
Observing, communicating, surveying and looking at metrics on leave and turnover help track the temperature.
By contrast, a thermostat sets the temperature. Leaders are thermostats. They determine the climate of the workplace: calm or stormy, stultifying or brisk.
There are people whose job it is to check the thermometer.
Your job as a leader is to adjust the thermostat.
— Adapted from “Are You a Thermometer or Thermostat at Work?” Mary Smith, Little Pink Book.