How to be a Human Leader
“We still need to get 40 hours a week out of employees.”
As many leaders have had to move their workforce home, there are several issues they’ve had to deal with because of this shift in venue. Ensuring productivity clearly is one of them. But the statement above is just wrong. Plus, you can use this time to gain greater personal satisfaction from your leadership.
Regardless from where people are working, 40 hours of effort is not a suitable productivity measure. Examples of better measures are, number and quantity of customers served, purchase orders processed, product tests completed, or service requests filled.
Now is not the time to make sure your home-bound employees are sitting in front of their computers 40 hours a week. We had no time to prepare for this. Many didn’t have home offices. Many were also figuring out what to do with children, now forced to be home-schooled. Significant others are also now working from home. Some families adapted quickly. Some are still struggling.
Now you are called upon to be more human in your approach. You need to have one-on-one time with your employees and encourage your leadership team to do the same. Ask employees how they are doing, what obstacles they face, or what you can do to facilitate improved work-from-home conditions. Act on the feedback you receive.
Several years ago, I served as an ecclesiastical lay leader for a small congregation. We had the chance to build a new church building. We put tremendous effort in justifying and working toward this project. Along the way, I was rightfully criticized for putting more leadership toward this project than I was saving souls. We adjusted and moved forward. Years later when I concluded my term, I shared our successes with the congregation. I spoke of the new building for which we had recently broken ground, our 35% attendance growth, and our spiritual growth. I said the latter mattered most; and shared that you could witness the change. We had become more active in our love and kindness for one another. This won me more congratulatory hugs and handshakes than either of the other two accomplishments combined. Later I was told that if we hadn’t done the latter, the former two accomplishments would not have been possible.
What is the message of this story? Focus on the needs of your people. When you do, the business results will follow. Yes, employees are responsible for accomplishing work. When you take the time to see to their personal needs – particularly during this crisis – they will deliver. And they will deliver more than if you are only focused on “getting 40 hours of work out of them every week.”
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Dedicated to your profitable transformation,