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03.19.08

The Lack of Connection Burns Us Out

Fired Up or Burned Out
Michael Stallard's Fired Up or Burned Out, is a book that is worth returning to again and again. He writes that “connection meets basic human psychological needs for respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth, and meaning. When these needs are met we thrive…. Conversely, the lack of connection will gradually burn us out.”

As leaders our lives touch more people than we can imagine. It is here that we are either making connections with others or we are not. We are either contributing to engagement or burn out. Stallard believes that after we delete the things that devalue others like inappropriate criticism, micro-managing and allowing others who do to continue to do so, we need to dial up the value in at least six important ways:
  1. Make a human connection with as many people as possible. Leaders need to acknowledge people. There’s no easier way to show you value people than to learn about them and use their names when you speak to them. Consider an intranet-based directory that includes employees’ names, pictures, and any information they feel comfortable sharing such as interests outside of work, favorite books, movies, quotations, and other information that communicates their unique stories.
  2. Treat and speak to employees as partners. Treating people below you in your organization’s hierarchy as equals rather than as inferiors enhances their sense of personal value.
  3. Help employees find the right roles. Providing assessment tools to enable people to identify their skills, temperaments, learning styles, thinking styles, and values, will help leaders place them in roles where they will be most likely to excel.
  4. Educate, inform, and listen to employees. If you don’t let people know what you are thinking, if you don’t inform them and hear their points of view, they’ll probably assume the worst. When people can’t see the direction they are headed, they naturally experience anxiety.
  5. Decentralize decision making. Companies have learned from experience that decentralized decision making improves moral by giving more control to lower-level employees. Greater autonomy, so long as it does not exceed a worker’s level of competence, fires up people.
  6. Recognize the human need for work/life balance. Leaders need to balance giving employees time off for urgent needs in their personal lives with being fair to other employees who have to do more work when a colleague is away. Encouraging people to get sufficient rest and relaxation outside work is an important way part of keeping people from burning out.
What is interesting about some of the above points is that they are so simple. So simple that we don’t place the importance on them that we should.

Stallard writes, “Unless the people in an organization have a strong sense of connection—a bond that promotes trust, cooperation, and spirit de corps—they will never reach their potential as individuals, and the organization will never reach its potential.”

Of Related Interest:
  Employees Who Quit, But Stay On
  Gratitude: Is That a Stone On the Hill?
  Michael Stallard has a free downloadable ebook available at ChangeThis.com: The Connection Culture: A New Source of Competitive Advantage

Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:17 PM
| Comments (0) | Management , Motivation



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