- Employee engagement is down and misery is up partly because they have managers who can't clearly communicate two things: One, what the employee’s job is, and two, that they care about their employees, writes Dalton Kehoe, author of Mindful Management: The Neuroscience of Trust and Effective Workplace Leadership, for hr.blr.com.
- The manager and the employee are "the critical couple," he writes -- organizational success begins with them. But often, aligning the relationship's dynamics with an employee's emotional needs in the workplace is more difficult than it sounds.
- Managers will too often act as a "controller:" distant, demanding, offering little recognition for work well done and leaving employees opinions and issues out in the cold, Kehoe adds. This behavior immediately stunts any potential connection -- and therefore, engagement -- in the workplace.
In order to actually make change in the workplace, some companies completely transformed the employee/manager relationship, largely by flattening it, Kehoe notes. The first solution: getting rid of managers entirely. Zappos and their Holacracy is a way this is done, though companies as old as The Morning Star Company have also functioned wih a flat workplace and "self-managing professionals."
The second solution: keeping managers, but removing their direct power over employees. Google functions this way, Kehoe writes, by not allowing any managers to unilaterally hire, fire, promote or award bonuses. Without control, managers can instead simply help their employees, increasing engagement, he adds.
To institute such policies in your own workplace, Kehoe suggests following the Five C's of mindful management: Connect (get to know your employees), Caring clarity (say thanks), collaborate (tell less, ask more), credibility (keep your promises), and calm (don't respond to workplace problems with anger).