INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Toxic workplaces have become such a health issue, they’ve caught the eye of the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, who recently took a stance on the problem. Besides declaring such workplaces a national health crisis, Murthy took the surprising step to directly address toxic workplaces by issuing a 30-page Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being.
Indeed, it’s time for an intervention. It’s time to make the workplace an engine for well-being, not an enigma that destroys it. The framework calls out 5 essentials for creating the opposite of a toxic workplace, one centered on ensuring equity and promoting that the worker’s voice is heard:
- Feeling like you matter at work (through a sense of meaning and dignity)
- Having work-life harmony (including autonomy and flexibility)
- A sense of connection and community (belongingness and social support)
- Opportunity for growth (through learning and accomplishment)
- Protection from harm (physical and psychological safety)
I won’t give crisp tips for each of these like I normally might. Instead, it’s enough to stop, pause, and consider that too many of today’s workplaces have earned the label of toxic, and have actually earned a “treatment regimen,” from the highest-ranking medical officer in the land, no less.
I trust you’ll take the framework above to heart, and take it from here.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
Here’s something I often say:
What I mean is that, as leaders, with our words and actions, we can plant seeds of growth in others, or seeds of doubt. We can say and do things that help people to grow and gain confidence, like giving the benefit of the doubt, assuming people are trying to do their best, stop being overly critical, giving empathetic feedback, providing learning opportunities, and making it OK to fail.
Or we can mistakenly create self-doubt in others, by being overly critical, micromanaging, coming across callous or unfriendly, showing a lack of empathy, giving brittle feedback, or punishing failure.
We often don’t realize we’re mistakenly planting seeds of doubt. But once planted, the roots run deep. I still remember, word-for-word, a callous piece of criticism tossed my way in front of my team. The giver probably forgot about it seconds after he said it.
And it happened 20 years ago.
I bet you can recall something like this too. So don’t plant those memories, those seeds of doubt, for someone else, with your words and actions.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
What follows is excerpted from my new course, Inspiring Today’s Workforce to Go Above and Beyond. Click here, to take it for FREE until November 30th – LinkedIn Learning has unlocked it for everyone, even if you don’t have a membership!
There are 5 types of conversations your employees are hungering for that will fuel better communication and motivation. Implement each.
1. Coaching conversations.
Good coaching discussions require an intentional start, middle and end. At the start, ensure the coachee establishes a purpose and desired outcome for the discussion, or the discussion can wander unproductively, tempting you to dive in and start problem solving.
In the middle, be sure to guide versus prescribe. Meaning, the goal is to guide the coachee to expand THEIR point-of-view by asking questions that bring out THEIR thinking, like, “What could you do to change this situation?” – as opposed to prescribing what they should do by dictating commands.
At the end of the coaching conversation, get clear on expectations, and drive accountability for next steps.
2. Career conversations.
Care as much about your employee’s career as you do your own. What are their goals? Circumstances? Get them to articulate what they REALLY want in their career, not what they’re SUPPOSED to want.
3. Check-in conversations.
This can be as simple as, “How are you doing?”, “What do you need?”, or “What’s on your mind of late?” Just asking from time to time (and listening), will make workers feel appreciated, seen, and heard.
4. Info-sharing conversations.
It’s hard enough to excel in today’s world when you have full information, so why in the world would you withhold information from your people? Take the time in a townhall meeting or in 1 on 1’s to share relevant info, like policy changes, or shifts in strategies, and to then answer questions.
5. Tough conversations.
Like when they’re off-track in their performance, or when you can’t give them that promotion they wanted. The bottom line here is that you owe employees truth and transparency. You’d want the same thing from your boss, right?
Engage in these 5 conversations, and you’ll find engagement soaring!