To say that we are part of the digital revolution is an understatement. Indeed, we are at the tip of the tipping point. Today, we are interconnected by technology. Drones, robots, smartphones and artificial intelligence are all supposed to make us and the companies we work for more efficient.
But, do these things make us more effective? In the quest for continuous improvement, efficiency is the ultimate goal. Of course, improved products, processes and systems are the essence of being able to compete and grow in today’s intensely competitive global economy.
Will we be dominated by technology? Or do we want to embrace a more human business environment and society? I vote for a leadership style that values the human side of business and the importance of relationships. Unlocking employees’ potential can result in more innovation, higher sales, fewer customer issues and increased profits.
When human beings believe in an organization, its leaders and their assignments, good things happen. A robot will never have the ability to show passion or believe in something. Business will always require compassion, empathy and soul. These are characteristics that technology simply cannot supply.
As technology continues to play a large role in our lives, it may drive us all to a new human renaissance. Given the increasing speed at which we operate in today’s world, it is paramount we utilize technology, but not as a substitute for contact and the human factor.
According to Gallop, less than one-third of U.S. workers were “engaged” in their jobs in 2014. What is an “engaged” employee? Gallop defines it as those employees who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work places. How many of your colleagues are “engaged?”
It’s an important question because engaged employees drive productivity, profitability and customer engagement. To engage workers and drive effectiveness, organizations need to focus on putting high-performing leaders in place and creating programs to develop their employees. Engaged employees believe they can make a difference in the organization – and they often do!
These engaged employees are grounded in confidence, knowledge and their abilities and skills. Effective leaders engage others and unleash the potential and passion in others. They light the fire in the belly. Engaged employees are committed. Unengaged follow the rules and comply.
All of us seek to make a contribution and to know that what we do matters. We want to find meaning in our work. We all crave a sense of autonomy, a true feeling that we can direct our lives. Give your associates latitude to do their jobs.
Information is king and powerful. Employees seek to be in the know. Sharing information empowers your team so they understand the key critical issues and what is required to achieve success. Create a “just in time” information process, using social networking to get the word out. Give employees ownership, which means they “own” a project from start to finish.
Give your employees a voice! And listen to them. Involvement in decision-making is true empowerment. Permit people to learn from mistakes. Remove fear from the organization. Fear is the antithesis of empowerment. Trust your team.
Stress drains employees and kills productivity. Foster and live a culture of trust, appreciation, clear expectations, candid and supportive feedback, autonomy, human connection and integrity.
Get to know your employees. They are more than a resume or a name on an organizational chart. Find out their interests, values, skills, aspirations, challenges and goals. People feel more appreciated when they are understood. Share your vision, to inspire the organization, communicate your view of the future and ask employees to be architects in creating the future. Give your employees (human beings, with brains, hearts and souls) time to think. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate, and recognize achievements and high performance. The brain works better when people are happy, and they are feeling positive. Collaboration and shared goals increase positive feelings. Positive and happy employees are a critical element of business success.
Let me offer a suggestion to improve and enhance productivity, communications, morale and customer relationships. Let’s declare 2016 to be ”The Year of the Human.” Perhaps technology will continue to make tasks easier, and as a result, give us all more time to connect in real-time and face-to-face.
Let us go forward and take advantage of the efficiency of technology. The future belongs to companies that invest in personal relationships, collaboration and innovation, valuing human capital and the power and passion that people bring to business.