Do you work for a negative manager? Does your boss want to fix everyone? A focus on negativity can breed disengagement.
I’m still mulling over the Gallup survey that shows only 35% of managers are fully engaged in their work. To me, it seems in comprehensible, as I wrote in my previous post here. How can employees get motivated and enthusiastic about their work if their boss isn’t?
And then it hit me. I’ll bet what happens is that managers – not all, but some – get discouraged. They don’t see the progress and performance they want, and they become negative managers. In fact, negativity is a big soul-catching contagious virus that I see everywhere in organizations, at all levels. It breeds disengagement.
It’s not just human nature, it’s also our culture. We have more negative words than positive words in our vocabulary. The news isn’t news unless it’s bad. Gossip is almost always negative. In a way, we love problems, love to hear about them, love to solve them. So we search for them, actively alert for how employees are likely to screw up.
That’s why Forbes author Ekaterina Walter wrote this:
And that’s where we go wrong! This approach is the reason we cannot build strong and diverse teams. This approach is the reason we are not utilizing human potential to its fullest. This approach is the reason we have more mediocre managers than we have true leaders. And at the end of the day, all that impacts our culture and ultimately our bottom line.
The simple truth is that if we stop trying to “fix” our employees and rather focus on their strengths and their passions, we can create a fervent army of brand evangelists who, when empowered, could take our brand and our products to a whole new level.
If more leaders and managers were knowledgeable about strengths-based management, they’d know that it’s not only smart to praise people for progress, it’s also key to inspiring engagement. If you’re managing to someone’s strengths, they’ll respond with energy and give you better results. If you constantly remind them of their weaknesses and deficits, they’ll get discouraged and not produce better performance.
And as boss, you’ll get discouraged as well, leading you to withdraw your efforts and join the ranks of disengaged managers. Makes sense, doesn’t it?