Is anybody listening?

Imagine having the answer to a problem but not being able to find anyone who will listen to you. You try and try but get repeatedly ignored. All the while you see the problem getting worse and worse. And yet it feels like no-one else can even see the problem or, if they do, don’t seem bothered enough to take any action.

Sounds familiar?

  • Bosses too busy to listen
  • A culture where the boss makes all the decisions and, of course, is always right!
  • A company that goes to great lengths to employ the most talented people and then gives them a set of work instructions that must be followed
  • Work instructions that are outdated and make no sense
  • Performance management regimes that measure and reward compliance rather than initiative

The list of similar examples is almost endless. You could always send us yours!

And all this bad practice is resulting in increasing levels of work related stress and an ever growing impact on our physical and mental well-being. The associated cost is breaking the bank of NHS and Social Care funding, the crisis of our times, and is affecting individuals and families in lost pay for time off work, extra childcare and so on.

And, the emotional effect it has when we come home from work barely able to function because of the day we’ve had is becoming intolerable for many of us.

Sickness levels and staff turnover create financial costs for business and this has brought some focus to the problem. And, of course, some organisations actually care about the welfare of their staff! But many of the attempts to make things better manifest themselves as tick-box exercises that fail to address the real problems.

And they all completely miss the point. Helping people to cope with stress is like shutting the stable door after Dobbin has done a runner!

The better solution, of course, is to take action on removing the source of the stress, but that is perceived to be hard. (It’s not – read on!)

Think back to the last time you had a really good day at work. I bet that it happened on a day when:

  • you could make a difference – you knew exactly what was required of you, why it mattered and where it fitted in the grand scheme of the purpose of the business
  • you knew what to do and how to do it – you were confident that you had all the skills you needed to make a success of things; and
  • you were allowed to get on with it – you were being trusted to complete the task

If this was you then you experienced the three human factors that have the greatest impact on our motivation – our desire and willingness to go the extra mile and have fun while were doing it. This is positive stress, which is a good thing. It allows us to express ourselves and feel in control.

Dan Pink talks about 3 enabling factors:

  • Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
  • Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

Scientists have known about this stuff for decades and there’s an endless amount of evidence you can Google (other search engines do exist I believe!) about the positive aspects of reducing work related stress. Bizarrely, the biggest winners in all this are the employers. They get happier, healthier staff, who are willing to give even more to getting the job done. And we all know that it’s the staff who look after the customers – who get a better service and are therefore likely to keep coming back to us.

It is so simple; respect your staff, listen to them, trust them. In return you get happier, healthier, more productive staff, who make you more money. What’s stopping you?

Contact Efficient Thinking Solutions today and increase your productivity and profit, call us now on 01905 380008