I’ve heard a lot about this on my Facebook news feed recently, so I decided to give my two cents on it. In today’s climate of one-dollar salaries and ethical awareness, I think it’s safe to say that corporate culture is seeing a lot of change. We’re shifting from a top-down approach to a more holistic approach. One where open-concept offices bring executives and employees together, and the bottom line is balanced by social responsibility and employee wellness. In my opinion, one of the most striking differences is the shift from managers being our bosses to managers being our leaders.
The bosses are “the people upstairs”. They make decisions based on profit margins and measurable statistics, like how many dollars you have sold in services, or how many minutes it takes you to finish a particular task. “The human context” of the workplace does not cross their minds.
The bosses are not all evil, mind you. In the face of real business problems, sometimes they need to think of their bottom line first. I’ve done that in some of the few business cases that I’ve worked through so far, and it’s easier than I had hoped to ignore “the human context”. This, coming from the girl who prides herself on business ethics.
Think of this like a game of Tug of War. The leader is the anchor at the back of the rope, keeping the team from losing and helping them out in every way possible. If the team loses, they lose too. Leaders are not just the trailblazers. They’re the people who do everything that they can to help the team meet their objectives – because it’s their job as leaders to do so.
As far as I can tell, our generation of employees demand leaders, not bosses. We need to know that our managers care enough about us to help us meet our objectives. We expect them to be understanding and patient, and we need to be able to trust that they will protect us from “the people upstairs” as much as possible. We need to hold our managers accountable for their actions.
It pisses us off when our managers are laughing and we’re swamped in work. We demand that our high-power executives work for their pay every bit as much as we do. Most of all, we refuse (at least for now) to end up in a company that we dislike. We hate Mondays, but we shouldn’t have to.
So I ask you now, as current and future leaders, what will you do to make sure that you, your colleagues, and your employees love Mondays?
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Image courtesy of Victor1558 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).