No one wants to be left behind, ignored, or bypassed. It’s tough enough when you don’t get invited to the party; it’s even harder when you feel invisible at work.
Yet as difficult as this situation might seem, it is often unintentionally created, a default setting to an environment that sets the blinkers firmly in place and pushes people into a bubble of separation.
Typically, this behaviour goes on in organisations that are running at breakneck speed. What happens to inclusion, communication, and connection when there is barely time to say hello in the morning? Zilch, that’s what.
Many hypergrowth businesses, while having supersonic success elsewhere, often flatline when it comes to their people. Expansion may be part of the fabric but workers become divorced from this progress because they are left in isolation without support.
Many years ago I worked in a start-up which rapidly became a successful hypergrowth hurtling towards IPO. Most days I was so immersed in the to-do list I barely left my desk. I jumped from one task to another, fingers crossed I was doing the right thing while scratching around for crumbs of feedback. Meetings were described as ‘catch-ups’ – often a purge of scattershot instructions as the team tried to keep pace with the onslaught. Stress was commonplace, there were more tears in the toilet than handwashing, and systematically someone resigned. And who did we all look to for support? Our leaders, of course.
After all it was their responsibility. But, unfortunately, they were not fulfilling the job description. There’s no getting away from it, leaders are supposed to lead. But if they don’t steer their people, they are contributing to a Lone Ranger culture of isolated silos which can culminate in a disparate workforce and even mass resignation. Research shows that 79% of employees will quit their jobs due to a lack of appreciation from managers.
At Untapped.AI we work closely with leaders to encourage them to think deeply about the kind of manager they want to be. It’s surprising how many of our clients have never considered such a thought. Like their teams, they are entangled in the day-to-day, often stuck in the weeds, oblivious to the idea that they can influence, inspire and encourage. And what also might come as a surprise to them is that changing their ingrained behaviour and mindset is hard. It takes time to think differently, it requires courage to step into alternative behavioural shoes, it demands honesty to admit you might not have been getting it right. Recent stats reveal that 77% of organisations report leadership is lacking in their people. Few of us are natural leaders. But it is a skill that, with commitment, can be developed.
We want managers to become more self-aware. Because once you understand yourself and why you behave in a certain way, not only will you become ‘unstuck’, you can also help others to do the same. Being armed with the tools to impact and influence your people is powerful stuff, because when teams align, the floodgates of good communication open, trust thrives, innovation takes place and confidence grows. And the knock-on effect is far-reaching: profits rise by 20% when leaders focus on team strengths.
The growth of a business should never be at the cost of its people BUT empower the people’s thinking and success follows. And while it might start with an individual mindset change, the escalation into widespread transformation fosters a culture of commitment and pride. As one client recently told us: “Wanting to turn up for work every day might sound like a basic requirement but to actually wake up in the morning and look forward to being part of my team and be excited about making a difference is nothing less than incredible!”