Quote of the week
“Gratitude for employees is more absent than it should be or has been in the past.”
— Michael Crom, Dale Carnegie Training
The Miami Herald tells us that “American workplaces are plagued by the highest level of dissatisfaction in decades.” While I’m sure that can’t be true of Canadian public servants, this nonetheless might be the right time for managers to think about signalling their appreciation for the work their employees do.
Certainly there is little doubt that public servants are working in trying times. On the inside, the threat of downsizing and being surplused can make life in the workplace stressful. From the outside, those public servants on the frontline face a public that can be ornery and demanding, sometimes bringing to the desk a sense of obnoxious entitlement that comes from being a taxpayer.
Managers might want to ask themselves if they are contributing to employee stress. Are they being open and communicative or closed and secretive? Do they exhibit respect and trust when engaging with members of staff; do they give orders or ask for help? Do they demonstrate excellence or do they just demand it?
Everyone has high expectations, and senior managers themselves are not immune from pressure in today’s cost-cutting and politically charged world that has little tolerance for error. But at the end of the day, what really matters most to managers should be how they contribute to workplace well-being.
The day will come – someday soon, one hopes – when annual performance reviews will take the issue of workplace well-being seriously and measure managers accordingly.
Until then, as a manager, take the time to say, “Thank you.” Perhaps write a short email or, even better, a hand written note to someone who deserves your attention and support.
Have a happy holiday. I will be back writing this column on January 11, 2012.