I hear from a lot of managers how their organizations want to achieve too much with a fraction of its real costs and get staff to do more than they can possibly accomplish.
The disease-to-overachieve that permeates in many organizational cultures is strong where the need is irrational leading to unhealthy decision options. Manager complain of longer work hours, additional responsibilities without supports, resources, and systems alignment, and expectations to be easy on the budget.
Overachievement comes from fear.
Fear of not measuring up;
Fear of failure;
Fear of being not being seen as a strong and viable entity;
Fear of not being on par with your constituencies and networks;
This fear is overcompensated by absorbing too much, too soon, and with too little. Scope creep becomes an accepted norm. Resisting this in a culture where more is great is near suicidal and would cost a career loss.
I heard some time ago from a local town person that their local township is trying to be what it's not. People in the inside can't see this clearly.
If you're caught up in the whirlwind of overachievement, ask your leaders, the following questions:
1. What exactly they want to remove off your plate so you can get things done on more important things?
2. What supports and resources are available right now to achieve these goals?
3. What goals are good-to-have and what are the musts?
4. What activities generate the best outcomes?
These questions can lead to more realization and quite frankly, a light in the tunnel.
Employee engagement as based on research is defined as "asking for the employee to go the extra mile. " This is different from all the motivation, commitment, loyalty, and other positive feelings associated with the organizational affiliation of employees.
When it's about asking employees to go the extra mile, what does it really mean?
The ugly side of this 'engagement' as some critics say, could be just a fad again, is the fact that how much more can we ask employees to go beyond and above their current performance.
Is this something that can only lead to more burnout, frustration, anxiety, and general negative disposition in the workplace?
Engagement linked to clear strategic objectives for the organization is a sound approach. However, going the extra mile when ill-defined, ill-conceived, and inconsistently measured can lead down a path of irreversible damage for the organization.
Don't let your HR tell you what employee engagement is. Everyone in the organization should decide what's it's all about and whether there are clear metrics attached to organizational success objectives that you can leverage to make it purposeful in your own work.
I was teaching a Management Course for the last four weeks now and everyone agreed that we could do better in the area of active listening.
Listening is a under-developed skill for the majority of professionals and managers.
We always have to have a say when simply the answer can be found in listening with intentions.
80% of conflicts and misunderstandings can be prevented and resolved by simply listening with the heart and mind together.
We do not have to win every argument or be the last one to say something marvelous. We don't need to be 'the smartest person' in the room either.
We don't need to boost our ego for senseless showmanship.
I heard one person talked about using 'verbal judo' in dealing with difficult people.
I would say, try the active listening jujitsu first and see the difference.
In my work with leaders and executives with on-purpose organizations, I noticed these three issues that arise when leaders do not let go of the need to be 'in control.'
Delegate with power
A leader of a group of leaders must delegate with power or else, giving free rein without the full authority to get the job done becomes a sticking point later on. This is a case of artificial empowerment which benefits no one.
Those who get 'volun-told' need not be afraid to ask for the full authority, not a training opportunity or a practice assignment.
Are you still in control while delegating the work to others? Give them the power and authority, give them the broad strokes, and let them create the outcomes that you seek.
Detach from outcomes
Senior leaders have the habit of putting their heads on their team members' plans and targets and watching them over their shoulders.
Let go of the need to control their outcomes for them. I once had a boss who had to be in one of my meetings to ensure that our objectives are met and the he gets to see things through. Waste of manager time! If you can't ensure, you failed in training, providing capacity, and setting the high tones. When I see directors sitting in one their staff's presentations or meetings, applying primitive managerial style is insufferable!
When they face problems, get them back again to their objectives and make it a teaching moment.
Honing your own leadership style
Nowadays, with all the bad content that you need to copy the power nap of so and so, and the 5am work style of this and that is atrocious.
People are beginning to be confused about leadership style and personal habits. Leadership style is your own sense of leading others, based on your values and strategies at it relates to the needs of your followers and organizational goals. Personal habits are not something that can be applicable to everyone. Take it with a grain of salt.
Leaders are made, not born. You can be in control of something but not all things in the organization. Learn to trust your team and begin to see real and positive change in the workplace.
Now that the year is about to end, the perennial institutional reviews kick in.
Leaders are wont to take stock of the wins, misfires, and those things in-between.
With COVID-19, moderate gains are applauded for the reason that things have been tough on many fronts. Going through the year unscathed is an impossibility.
With tighter controls back again since March, the economy will continue to fluctuate based on the reading of the vaccine situation.
Are you prepared to face 2021 with a short-term bridging plan to tide you over until the situation stabilizes?
Are you using your pre-COVID19 strategies to get you by?
Are you being opportunistic and proactive about what's going on and using levers you can use at your disposal?
Are you secured in the belief that it will become better and acting on this hopefulness?
Are your team members aligned with you in your strategies and in the intention to keep looking at the opportunities in this crisis?
If yes, to all of these, 2021 could be a transitional phase for all its intents and purposes. A great year for emergence and renewal.
The old baggage is thrown away, new ideas are welcomed, and being persistently mindful of taking care of ourselves and each other.
What have you learned this year and made you realize that life is what you make of it, not what happens to you?
This applies to everything!
The politics on vaccines is another issue that can potentially escalate into another time-bomb.
We have several vaccines that have promising results for the prevention of the COVID-19 virus. We know that these can take a few months before initial groups of people are monitored and the side effects of the drug are taken into consideration.
We'll have the vaccines as our (Canadian) government committed to this a long time ago. Other countries have to wait until it becomes affordable and that preliminary results come out. No one wants to be the guinea pig, I suppose.
Vaccines are one thing but the equitable distribution, affordability, accessibility and appropriateness of these vaccines to differentiated needs of different populations come into question. Another issue is about protecting consumers who have elected to use these vaccines under development, which calls for regulation and complete transparency for public welfare.
We live in ambiguous times. We cannot trust our health systems and authorities that are overwhelmed and overworked to decide for our health, well-being, and safety. Like all systems, when it's saturated, it either collapses on the sheer weight of its load or dissipates into mediocrity or irrelevance.
We also cannot turn a blind eye on the suffering and hardships that are experienced by our neighbors in the developing South. That's why we call on health equity across the board. Those that have multiple vulnerabilities and needs must be given equitable priority and attention and consulted adequately.
Be your own health advocate and become a health advocate for others around you. The world is hyperconnected to risk being the weakest link.