Do I pass ownership for my health to my doctor? Of course not. While the doctor is a significant resource in maintaining my health, I am responsible for my own well-being, and “I” must be responsible for making improvements. So, at work do I pass complete ownership for my morale and engagement levels onto my team leader? This happens in the ‘entitlement’ culture where employees blame others for not meeting their expectations but do little themselves.
In a review of a forum on the subject of employee satisfaction surveys, I came across evidence as to why entitlement and resent may be generated for many.
- “…we had questions in categories that then had a (project) leader to work on the responses and add solutions.”
- “you need to determine what you do with the results when you get them.”
- “…surveys if not handled properly have a tendency to become employee complaint and bitch sessions focusing on hot button areas such as salaries, reviews, benefits, etc. instead of the real reason…”
- “from the results, they launched various programs featuring awards, breakfast with the manager, movie tickets or coupons for dinner, employee of the month, giving monetary lump sum bonuses for outstanding performance, etc etc.”
Leaders/Companies that are proactive and don’t hide from workplace conflict do not wait for the results from employee satisfaction surveys to engage with employees. They encourage partnership between the led and the leaders. The result of this approach is, employees take ownership for their own engagement and morale, rather than sitting back and expecting the team leader to be solely responsible for leading.
Leadership is about individualizing not universalizing. It is responding to the specific needs of an individual rather than behaving in standard, generic ways.
Putting managers through standard leadership development programs with identical content and structure will perpetuate the notion that leadership is universal and is something imposed from above.
When leadership is viewed as a partnership it brings the team leader and the team together. Leadership across the team is developed when you help people to understand each other’s needs and develop ways to bring out the best in each other. It is in this context of joint responsibility for leading and being led that leadership across the organization grows.
…And hopefully this never happens, “I know of employees that were very critical of the company and it came back to haunt them.” Yikes.