One of my passions is to connect employees and leaders. In almost every engagement, I have seen a significant gap between the leaders of the company, their goals, agenda, priorities, vision, etc. and that of their workforce. It is easy to imagine how that happens — quick growth, changes in leadership, attrition, competing agendas, etc. Once that gap is identified though, it cannot continue.
Identifying an Employee-Leadership Gap
What does this disconnect look like? Often, this employee-leadership gap results in low morale, poor customer service, high attrition, high waste, schedules packed with meetings that go nowhere, losses in revenue, diminished brand loyalty, costly errors… the list goes on and on. If you’re noticing any of these signs, take a hard look and see how your leaders are connecting with the employees at all levels. This doesn’t have to be difficult to address and solve.
What Employees Want
Employees HAVE to see the leaders, hear from them regularly, feel connected to them somehow, if not physically in the same workplace. Employees need to know where the company is going (company vision), they need to buy-in to the mission and feel inspired by their leaders. This will help them feel connected to their work performance, their department goals, their customers, and have an understanding for how their day-to-day work impacts the success of the company.
How Leaders Should Lead
Leaders need to ask themselves — What “fires me up” about my work, about this company? What do I love about my work? What are our goals? How have I shared this with our employees? How have I laid out the vision for how we are going to get there?
Then, the answers to these questions need to waterfall down to every single employee and not just once at the vision roll-out. Continue to share the vision over and over and over again. Leadership at every level should be continually talking about the goals, the strategy for successful accomplishment, and the progress made or the barriers encountered along the way. Ensure that middle management is not just getting the vision, goals and strategy from company leaders, but that they in turn are sharing it with their teams and departments. Do this with excitement, passion and zeal and watch that passion begin to ignite in your employees. Watch the spark light in their eyes. Watch and see how your vision impacts their work on a day-to-day basis. And be sure to celebrate and acknowledge the wins along the way. You’ve got this!