Tag Archive for teamwork

5 Reasons Your Employees are Lying to You

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Newsflash #1: Your team lies to you sometimes. Maybe a lot of the time.

Newsflash #2: It’s at least partly your fault.

Newsflash #3: If you deny the possibility of #2 above, you may as well stop reading now.

If you’re still reading, I’m going to assume (yes, I know what they say about assuming) that you’re at least tentatively OK with the above assumptions. So what are those reasons? Why do folks sometimes lie to their managers and/or executives? Why might they lie to you?

1. They don’t trust you.

At least not really.

2. They feel like you’re always talking to them, not with them.

When you talk to your team rather than with them, it’s pretty clear to them that you’re not really all that interested in their feedback. So when you ask if they agree with what you’ve said to them, don’t be surprised when they all nod and smile. And further still, don’t for a moment believe that that means they’re actually agreeing with what you’ve said.

3. They’ve learned — somehow, some way — that being candid, especially with difficult truths, can lead to them (1) being the targets of your passive-aggressive behavior, (2) being labeled or (3) maybe even something worse.

People pick up on this crap really quickly. You may think your passive-aggressive nonsense is so subtle they won’t notice it. But you’d be wrong. You may think they don’t know they’ve been labeled. But they probably do. People are going to talk about the experiences they’ve had with you, and you can be sure that word will get around if people don’t feel like talking candidly with you is beneficial.

4. You say you’re “open to candid feedback,” and yet they can tell that you’d like to strangle the messenger who delivers the aforementioned candid feedback.

We’ve all got triggers, right? Things that really burn your bacon [or insert your preferred colloquialism for being annoyed here]. It’s important to have enough self-awareness to understand what sorts of things set you off. At the same time, just because someone presents information in such a way that you’d dump cayenne pepper in your eyes if you thought it’d make them stop talking; that doesn’t mean that the actual content of what they’re saying isn’t legit. And if people providing feedback get the sense that you’re considering the cayenne pepper, do you really feel like they’re going to tell you the hard truth?

5. They have reason to suspect you won’t do anything with the information you get.

This happens all the time with those organizational surveys. Some organizations do a great job with the info they get. They use it as just one of many ways they get feedback from their team, and they act on the information they receive. That, in turn, makes employees more apt to provide it. See how that works?

So what do we do? Well, we realize that if our teams feel compelled to be less than entirely forthcoming with us, we have an opportunity to build trust within the team. We must embrace humility, fight for greater self-awareness, and find ways to continue using our leadership as a vehicle to serve our teams.

Lead Them Where They Want to Go

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Very few individuals, if they’re honest, enjoy going to work every day in an environment filled with distrust, political maneuvering, and so many of the other ugly things that characterize too many groups and organizations. And most folks, if you ask them, would say they wish things were different where they work. In fact, a recent Gallup poll suggests that up to 77% of individuals said they were miserable in their jobs.

So people work places where they dislike the culture. And it’s not just some people. It’s a lot of people.

Those same people, unless they’re gluttons for punishment, wish it were different.

(Do you see the opportunity yet?)

They need leaders. They need people to lead them where they already want to go. It’s not like you’d be leading them toward some undesirable state of affairs. On the contrary, you’d be leading them toward a trusting, non-political, honest, healthy, passionate culture, which is exactly what most people want anyway. So if so many people want this, why don’t must people find themselves in this type of atmosphere? What’s missing?

Easy. Leaders. They need people with a certain angst about their environments, coupled with the desire and drive to serve through leadership. They need people willing to do the hard things servant leadership requires. They need you.

The Bottom Line Isn’t the Bottom Line

BOTTOM_LINESome of the world’s foremost intellects have told us by way of their arts and mediums that money is the end all of this existence of ours. And even those who might argue that and say that it’s not the end all still often end up making decisions as if it is the sole motivating factor in the world.

bottomlineAnd heck — maybe it is for you. Maybe for you the bottom line is the bottom line. Screw humans and their needs. You’re going to do whatever is most “efficient” and “profitable” and all that jazz. I mean, that’s the point of being in business, right? Making money? So forget about human needs, forget about contributing in some way to human development and happiness. They can get that feel-good crap from Oprah. Work is…well…work. Now hold that thought.

This isn’t some foreign concept. It’s not like folks who buy into this are all cold-hearted bastards. Think about it — Meja told us it was all about the money (dum-dum-did-dee-dum-dum). R Kelly opines that it’s money that makes the world go ’round (probably get pretty dizzy in that closet).

It changes everything, says Daryl Hall. Abba had some (not very) deep thoughts on the matter. In their lyrical masterpiece Money Can’t Buy, Blink 182 provides a compelling framework within which we can construct a robust philosophical position on the role of money in our lives and society. Ace of Bass suggests a stroll through the red light district as something that might provide ideas for what money could be spent on. For the sake of clarity, this is entirely dissimilar from the blue light specials at K-Mart.

biggieThe Beatles disagreed with their Ace of Bass counterparts, however, saying that money could not, in fact, buy them love. Poor Cyndi Lauper — bless her heart — believed that money changes everything. Then there was that god-awful, terribly long song from the Wallflowers about money. I would pay to never hear it again. Nate Dogg, often a companion of one Warren G, decided from a young age that he was going to make his money. Chumbawumba rambled incoherently about having all the friends money could buy. Or something. Run DMC’s advice was simple: Take the money and run. Cher serenaded us with her ideas about what it will be like when all the money’s gone. And who could forget the ageless adage Biggie Biggie Biggie can’t you see, Sometimes your words just hypnotize me, And I just love your flashy ways, Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid.

Bottom line is that it’s all about the money.

If you watch and listen to an organization for a hot minute, you’ll start to notice what their bottom line is. The ones that have absolutely started pissing me off lately are the ones that will say with a straight face that their people are their most important asset (or something along those lines) while treating those very important assets like $*!*.

Now they’ll argue that they don’t treat them poorly, mind you. And in some ways, they’re right. They’re usually not yelling and swearing at their folks whilst whipping them with an Indiana Jones style whip when they foul something up.

But they start making stupid decisions. Someone whose bottom line is simply the bottom line will think to himself, Hmmmm. Self, it seems the quickest way for us to cut cost and become “more efficient” would be to cut staff. Do more with less. That sort of thing. And so that’s what they’ll do. They’ll wear it like a badge of honor when they should perhaps be considering it more akin to a scarlet letter.

We serve more customers per employee than almost anyone else in our peer group! Our ratios show that we’re more efficient than 97.8% of our peer group!

What you’ll notice is conspicuously absent from those organizations’ big fancy reports is anything having to do with how all of that is affecting the humans at the organization. Oh sure, you cut the staff at your location from 12 to four, so you’re super efficient there. There’s also at least a chance that your four are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, under-appreciated, and so on. They’re not excited to come in and tackle the day together as a team; they’re just hoping to survive it. Branches that used to be bastions of fun slowly have the spirit stomped out of them in the name of efficiency or ROI or ROA or some other grouping of letters that’s supposed to sound so impressive that we forget all about the fact that these are human beings we’re dealing with here. Humans. Moms. Dads. Students. People with families.Bills to pay. Lives outside work.

scarface-9054thNo one’s saying that the bottom line doesn’t matter. I’m just saying there has to be more to it than that. It’s not the lone factor in our decisions. If profit was the lone consideration, we’d all be our own versions of Tony Montana or Vito Corleone (if given the choice, you should clearly choose the latter).