After eight months of working in her new role as a senior associate, Sarah begins to notice a change within the organization, and it’s making her very uncomfortable. Now, if you know Sarah, she loves her job; she is the spark and energy of the room, going the extra mile and dedicated to ensuring that the company fulfills its purpose and achieve its vision. But something was changing, the leadership made significant changes within the organization without any input from staff, and this affected Sarah immensely.
She tried to offer her feedback, but no one took her seriously. As a result, the organizational culture was slowly shifting from one that was very inspirational and motivational to one that breeds toxicity. Sarah, sensing that the organization did not value her work again, became very disengaged; she kept her head under the radar while she looked for a new job, losing all enthusiasm for the job.
When passionate employees become quiet, according to Tim McClure, it usually sends a signal that the work environment has become very dysfunctional. Suspicion and insecurity clouds the culture and employees retreat into self-protection behavior patterns to protect themselves from the forces within the company. According to Jonathan Mills, the growing unease disables focus, breaks trust in leadership, and a wave of negative energy ripples through the entire organization with the same force that their previous positive energy induced.
What are the causes? According to Mills, it may be any one of the following.
Breach of trust
Leadership integrity is paramount to maintaining relationships and keeping people focused and energized. Not living the company values and leading by example inevitably leads to distrust.
Lack of leadership consistency
Fairness, consistently applied, leads to growing confidence among staff. Employees feel insecure when there is favoritism, nepotism, or irregular behavior on the part of leadership.
Not being listened to, being ignored, or contribution not being recognized all lead to apathy. Energy gets sucked out of the system, and people lose heart.
Leadership untruths breed distrust. Employees easily perceive dishonesty and hate any attempts at being conned.
Insufficient information and communication
Where managers withhold pertinent pieces of information for power purposes or fail to communicate adequately with employees, staff feel neglected and worthless.
Big leadership bonuses with small pay increases for employees, benefits, and values being ‘customized’ to suit leadership desires, etc.
Lack of vision and purpose
When leadership operates out of a vague sense of direction with little or no communication of an expected future state, people within the organization will eventually become very disengaged.
To prevent your most passionate employee from becoming quite, you need to look at the leadership of the organization as the first order of business because the problems usually start from there. Ask yourself these question
Has the company moved away from its purpose and vision? Is there open and honest communication to reinforce the company’s purpose, vision, and values. Or to ensure that the entire company is informed about any changes taking place.Have the leadership stay true the values of the company and leading by example; What about empathy? Does the leadership value empathy and recognize this as a critical aspect of their leadership.
When your most passionate employees become quiet, it’s a signal that something is out of alignment, and as the leader, this is something you must observe and act on immediately. People don’t lose their motivation and inspiration overnight; it’s always a combination of small and big things that creeps into the organization slowly and consistently over time.
When you have a team passionate, inspired, and motivated to help the company achieve it’s vision while fulfilling its purpose, you must do everything in your power to ensure that this team keeps this vibe. Otherwise, you run the risk of pushing away great talent while settling for mediocrity.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 166,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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