The Idea: Psychologist Robert Hogan claims that 60-75 percent of managers are poor or even incompetent leaders. A recent Gallup poll supports this claim, stating that companies fail to choose the right candidate for the job 82 percent of the time. Most organizations prop up dysfunctional business practices and insecure leaders, damaging the fabric of the culture. A high percentage of leaders are not as emotionally healthy as they think, and their teams are at risk.
Emotionally insecure and fragile managers create dysfunctional teams. Consider this: most professionals switch tasks every three minutes and interruptions eat up 28 percent of the workday. The research shows that after an interruption, it can take over 23 minutes to get back on task. This leads to a culture of distraction, impulsiveness, and underperformance – all symptoms of an unhealthy team environment. Lack of consistency can spawn uncertainty and self-consciousness within most companies. And this corporate culture reflects the psychological health of the leader.
How’s your team’s emotional health?
Organizations are struggling with the pressure of a hyper-competitive workplace, causing high levels of stress and anxiety. A Deloitte external marketplace survey uncovered that nearly 70 percent of employees stated that their employers were not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout.
Furthermore, 77 percent of employees said they have experienced employee burnout in their current role. They shared that employers were not creating well-being programs to help alleviate stress in the workplace. Additionally, the survey found that 9 of 10 people believe high levels of stress or frustration hinders their overall performance.
Stanford professor and economist, Jeffrey Pfeffer states, “In a perverse twist, longer work hours have become a status symbol—a marker of how important, indeed indispensable, someone is …. As such, people want to put in long hours to signal how valuable they are.” We work too many hours with diminishing returns, sleep with our phones, and miss vital moments with our families. This behavior, rooted in fear, is another sign of dysfunction leadership.
Happy, productive cultures thrive.
Shawn Achor served as head teaching fellow at Harvard and designed a course called “Happiness.” His work validated something sales leaders experience each day: optimistic salespeople outperform their pessimistic counterparts by 56 percent. They help create a positive, creative culture that is fun – or at least not energy-draining. The emotions of pessimistic sales people must be rerouted in today’s demanding service culture.
The same is true for managers. Optimistic managers create high performing cultures. One study found that teams with encouraging managers performed 31 percent better than teams whose managers were overly-critical. Positive encouragement, it turns out, was even more inspiring than cash payouts. In chaos, affirmation can be more important than compensation.
The most vibrant organizations are centered on purpose and hope. Annie McKee, author and Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, reminds us: “Hope makes it possible to navigate complexity, handle stress, fear, frustration, and understand hectic organizations and lives. That’s, in part, because hope – like purpose – positively affects our brain chemistry. Research has shown that when we feel optimistic, our nervous system shifts from fight-or-flight to calm and poised to act.” And positive relationships at work boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent.
Are you creating a positive, encouraging organization?
We often believe that a positive culture is a bi-product of high performance. That may occasionally be true, but Harvard’s Shawn Achor has another perspective: “Happiness comes before success.”
What are you doing to create a culture of hope?