Are You Treating Employees Like They Dont Matter?
6/21/2013 6:50:00 AM
Few leaders set out to make their employees feel like they don't matter. But even the most well-meaning among us may be doing it accidentallyand the repercussions can be severe
Of course your employees matter. If they didn't, you wouldn't hire them, trust them to do important work, or keep paying them week after week. And if you think about it at all (which you probably don't), you assume they realize that. It's only logical. But you may inadvertently do and say things that make them feel otherwiseand it has little to do with logic.
In my new book, SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, I explain that mattering is one of the three most primal human needs, along with safety and belonging. When employees are made to feel that they don't matter, it happens on an emotional level, not an intellectual one. And we now know that emotions, not intellect, drive 90 percent of human behavior.
The really bad news for leaders is that when employees feel they don't matter, they simply cannot function at their highest level of performance.
When leaders say or do something that makes employees feel insignificant (and/or frightened or isolated; the three tend to work together), they revert to the fight/flight/freeze part of the brainfalling into what I call the "Critter State." Once in this state, all innovation and collaboration skills fall by the wayside, and every decision boils down to a single question: What will keep me safe right now?
I train and coach leaders atmidsized and Fortune 1000 companies in neuroscience techniques that get people out of their Critter State and into their Smart State, where they have full access to their creativity, problem-solving ability, collaboration, and emotional engagement. Under my guidance, clients often see their revenues and profits increase by up to 21 percent annually. Furthermore, 33-42 percent of theentire employee base takes on increased levels of responsibilitywithout asking for more pay.
So what might you be doing that makes employees feel they don't matter? Here, I reveal six of the top offenders:
â¢ You don't respond to their emails. Sure, you're busy, and sure, your employees know thatbut the Critter State doesn't spring from the rational part of the brain. Instead of thinking, Oh, the boss will get back to me when she has a moment, they think, She doesn't like my idea. She doesn't like me. I feel rejected. I don't matter.
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