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Top Workplace Issues and Solutions
Dysfunction is not only commonplace among families and other pertinent relationships, but it runs rampant in the best of our organizations, companies, associations and most visibly in many of our governmental agencies. Regrettably, it spreads like the plague, infecting the work place with a lack of productivity, poor performance, mediocrity, entitlements and bad politics.
Politics is every where. From the school yard to the board room. It lives with us and dies with us, but when it completely takes over and breeds then it becomes vicious habits that creep in take hold and many times never let go.
Yes, we are all responsible for our actions. Our own productivity is based on our own model of work ethic, but with all that, the overall dysfunction lies in the powers that be.
What does this mean for us working in these machines of dysfunctional leadership? What can organizations and their leaders change, once and for all, to alleviate and one day eliminate the dysfunction?
Let us discuss.
The Role of Leadership
2008. The worst year for our markets. It affected the world. It was a deluge of greed that caused the worst financial crisis since the depression. Yet, here we are with the same problems--lack of leadership. It is a fact that good, positive, charismatic leadership leads to high performing employees; which results in high performing companies. However, endless research, scholars and consultants will preach that great leadership is essential, but efficient and competitive teams are still elusive to most companies. Why? Isn't leadership the most important asset a company can invest in to increase employee and resource efficiency?
Where is the leadership when you need it?
The outcome of bad leadership:
- Poor performance
- Business knowledge lacks
- Bad or confusing financial decisions
- Negative internal politics and disconnect
- Failed business
Where do we go from here?
Communication, what a concept, right?
It is mind boggling how the same employees, in the same company, working on the same goals, can be so vicious, divisive and poor team players throughout the hierarchy. Getting people in the same company to function in the same direction, communicating across team lines and rowing all in the same direction almost seems impossible at times. Therefore, resulting in inefficient completion of tasks or none at all.
Imagine a work force with better leadership and better authority to make decisions cohesively and truly working together instead of against each other. Imagine that!
Teams need to be strategically aligned and working in the same direction at all times; if not, waste happens and energy lacks.
What work place issues and, or, problems do you believe are most harmful?
As stated earlier, politics reigns every where. Unfortunately, it can and has gotten out of control in our work places. Bad politics is truly bad for business. Work places can be too political and at times can control major policy making decisions that affects all levels.
Politics in reality, and by definition, is "the art or science of running governmental or state affairs." However, it also pertains to behavior and social relations. And in my opinion, that is where the underlying problem is. Too often these behaviors dictate how the company will operate.
As bad politics spreads the company tends to develop a reputation for being overly political and even unpleasant to work in, and results in the following:
- Makes it more difficult to hire good talent in order to compete effectively.
- Makes it more difficult to fire bad seeds in order to compete effectively.
- Generally, good honest workers lack the skill, character and power to function in highly political work environments.
- Employees tend to lose faith, morale and motivation.
- Complete lose of employee confidence in its leadership.
- Business performance suffers both short and long term. No one wins.
With all this said, realistically, it is almost impossible to have a completely politic-free environment. This is due in part to the fact that the allure and natural part of human nature is the need for power in both business and the world in general. The ability for those in power to continue steering the company forward is not inherently a good or bad thing, but successful leaders must learn to manage, and most importantly, leverage the politics by setting their sites on performance based goals versus resource based goals and rewards.
Easier said than done?
Working to solve it!
Is there a cure?
What are the best ways to "try" to cure or in many cases "combat" these issues? Well, it all boils down to the basic---leadership.
In my experiences, both past and present, the following observations, and, or recommendations are what I believe is a reasonable start to finding a cure:
- Recognition by top management that a problem (s) exists and the impact on the business.
- Commit, act, and implement palpable change to the processes causing the negative issues.
- Bring in third-party, non-biased advisors to assist in the change.
- Allow open employee feedback and participation through surveys and group discussions to evaluate and identify road blocks by the management teams. (My favorite!)
- Fair and just mediation in times of need.
- If existing management does not demonstrate a real change of policy and culture then new leadership is imperative.
- New leadership should be able to make decisions on hiring, firing and other policy making actions.
- Have appropriate legal backing to counteract against those that continue negative and improper behavior.
- Zero tolerance for bad business practices. Sociologically, people will practice what they see as appropriate social behavior. If a company allows bad political behaviors, others will follow.
- Build a culture of collaboration, not division, as a management strategy. Cohesiveness at all levels is essential!
Conclusion: Keep an open mind!
Yes, we can!
Building a work environment based on collaboration, agreed upon strategies, cohesiveness, sound communication, business knowledge, consensus and education results, not only, in a high performing, highly motivated business, but also evolves into highly motivated and competent teams of individuals that will lead their organizations positively.
Work place dysfunction does not have to exist. It does not have to fester if the problems or issues are truly worked on and performance systems are in play to motivate, control and lead. There should be both merit and seniority incentives and penalties. Clear and concise business objectives should be transparent, accountable and easily communicated. Company-wide team building, workshops, training, communication, negotiation and conflict resolution should be real and free flowing; not rigid, biased or extremely political. And last, but not least, results should be based on positive input for maximum output.
The work place should breed productivity, efficiency, collaboration, profit and other positive company goals. Employees and management MUST work as a unit. Keeping an open mind that times, technology, and generational changes occur will allow dysfunctional companies to turn themselves around into highly performing functional entities admired for their ability to fix their issues once and for all.
Leaders emerge front and center and we all grow.
There is hope.
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