Yesterday, The New York Times ran an article that talked about workplace stress. It is not new news to say that the biggest source of stress on the job can be your immediate supervisor. Nor is it new news to say, as Dr. Sutton is quoted as saying, “The pile of evidence coming out shows that if you want to be an effective organization or an effective boss, you’ve got to strike a balance between humanity and performance.”
We have known this for years – whether we admitted it or not. What IS new is that maybe, just maybe we are ready to practice what they know: To understand that sustained high performance is intimately connected to working with our humanity. We cannot continuously perform well if we are not happy, healthy, respected and trusted.
It just doesn’t work.
We cannot expect sustained high performance from our employees when we work them 24/7, don’t give them the respect, freedom, and/or ability to make decisions within their perview or expertise. We cannot expect ourselves to perform well if we don’t set healthy limits and take care of our minds and bodies.
I am seeing many companies operating out of fear – piling on more work. It’s not the companies – it’s the leaders and managers colluding to do this and others allowing it. The employees are afraid they will lose their jobs if they speak up – so they continue to toil away… Until:
They get sick.
They lose their job.
They find another job.
What is holding employees at these companies? They feel they have no place to go…until “the economy picks up.” Then you have a potential brain drain.
So, embracing the people element of performance is not just a moral imperative, it makes good business sense.
What is your longer-term strategy? The question is, are you willing to take a stand and set limits about what is acceptable or not – whether you are an employee or a leader?
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