Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are your employees in the Lobster tank?

I had the opportunity to go out to eat at Red Lobster today. As I was waiting to be seated I was sitting in front of the lobster tank. As I peered into the tank I couldn't help but thinking that we have many employees under us that feel just like those lobsters do with their claws taped together. Restricted, uninformed and waiting to be cooked.

“There's a basic philosophy here that by empowering...workers you'll make their jobs far more interesting, and they'll be able to work at a higher level than they would have without all that information just a few clicks away.” ~ Bill Gates

When we leave our people out of the loop, uninformed and not empowered, they are not passionate about their jobs, they feel as if they are just tools to be used and then thrown away. Human Capitol, by far, is the greatest asset any Leader or Company has at it's disposal.

The sad fact is, that in todays culture there doesn't seem to be any loyalty from our employees or from the Leadership. We find ourselves in a continuous cycle of people coming in and out of our companies. It's hard to build relationships when everyone is in a state of mind that you or the Leadership above you could be out the door tomorrow.

If we are going to break the chains off of our employees and truly empower them, we must do the following.

  • Create cultures where the opinion's of our entire staff is valued and listened to. 
  • Create loyalty with our people and then their loyalty to the company.
  • Create open communications throughout the company, trust will be reinforced when people feel that there is nothing to hide from either side.
  • Hire from within. Whenever possible promote from the ranks and show that hard work and new ideas are rewarded. 
  • Understand that our true bottom line is in our people, not in the dollar signs of our quarterly reports. 
I know that some people are now wondering if I've went, "Off reservation" by saying that we shouldn't be concerned with the dollars. What I am saying is that when we take care of people and empower them, the dollar signs will grow and we will find that our workforce is passionate not only about their jobs put the company as a whole. 

Do you feel empowered? Do you feel loyalty at your job? How can we as Leaders develop empowered and loyal employees?


Harry Lieberman said...

Well said. Some years ago, I was doing some work for Federal Express which required me to travel to their Memphis hub every week. I got to know a number of FedEx employees quite well. The philosophy there centered around people/product/profit: If you take care of the people, they will take care of the product, and that will take care of the profits. Don't know if that's still how they operate, but it sure was working well then.

Voices of Leadership said...

Harry, Thank you for your time and your comment. I am glad to hear that there are companies out there that put the people first. I truly believe that if more companies did that, they would find that their productivity and profits would increase as well. Thanks again for your time and expertise.


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