Posts Tagged ‘morale’

Have you got a flat battery too?

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

After the longest, coldest, wettest winter in living memory, and having had snow for Easter, today was the first day I have had both dry grass and a little sunshine.  I looked at it and thought I ought to try to give the lawn the first cut of the year.  A perfect opportunity: I was mentally and a physically ready, had nothing more pressing to do and the weather Gods were on my side… Great!

I had had the battery for the mower on charge a few days ago, so it ought to start shouldn’t it?  I sat on it and turn the key and was greeted with …silence.  The mower had a mind of its own and it wasn’t firing just because I was ready!  It was a  frustrating waste of time.  However it put me in mind of lesson, which I’d like to share with you.

It turns out that lawn mowers and your staff have something in common; they don’t start just ‘cos you are ready.  You need to prime and prepare them, to look after them during the periods when you don’t need them to do anything special if you want them to perform for you when you need them to.  In fact, I suspect lawn mowers are a little easier to to get going than staff morale.  They both  need the right conditions to work for you. 

You have to approach them in the right way; explain what you are trying to do and why it is important; and why it is important to them too.  You have to ensure they have to skills and bandwidth to perform and protect them from criticism whilst you get the program moving forward.  Like cutting the lawn, you perhaps won’t find the best way to do it first time round so you need to learn from your experiences and keep making it easier to do the job.  And once the job is done, you need to ensure they are looked after till the next time you need them!

How important is how important you are?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

I was listening to Professor Michael Marmot talk today.  He is an epidemiologist and studies what makes us ill / adversely affects our well-being, and to his surprise, discovered that they are one and the same thing. In seeking to find out what caused stress etc in the civil service, he discovered, against all his presumptions, that far from it being tough at the top and the stress of high powered jobs making more senior civil servants more ill, that the lower down the greasy pole you worked the more likely you were to suffer from ill health.  In other words, your well being was in direct proportion to your ability to control your destiny.

In a workplace that is growing increasingly more competitive due to the economic downturn, it means that more and more people are forced to take jobs on terms that they would otherwise not accept and this will in turn adversely affect their health.  For the individual the consequences are obvious, however, for the company, it means lots of hidden costs in terms of disruption and efficiency when they force people into doing things that they are not really best suited for or not interested in.  

So whether you are a boss or a minion, it is directly in your interest to ensure that you work in an environment that enables you to have some control over what you do.  Think about it, companies like Google encourage its employees to spend a day a week working on projects of their own choice, as a mean of encouraging original thinking and innovation.  The fact that it also boosts morale and well-being is just another plus.

From Yes Minister:-

Humphrey: Minister, a Minister can do what he likes.
Hacker: It’s the people’s will. I am their leader. I must follow them!