The article “Groundhog Day? 35% of Canadian employees often ‘bored’ at work” addresses in important issue faced by many leaders of small to mid-sized businesses. Many employees are struggling with motivation and morale. Common sense tells us that motivation comes from within individuals and other people, especially bosses and business leaders, can exert influences that create environments that either support or throttle every individuals’ motivation, attitudes, and mindsets.
Let’s dwell on the Solutions rather than the Problems
Building Individual Employee’s Energy to Transform Your People and Your Business Culture
Energy is the fuel that drives action. Success arrives when energy is high and sustained and when that energy creates actions directed toward positive goals. People who are bored are experiencing a lack of energy or have energy but, for one reason or another, are not using that energy to fuel actions directed toward goals they deem to be positive.
Why do people get bored? Why is that person bored? Why is that person not motivated while at work?
We could speculate on the answers to those questions.
We could conclude, as Gallup does in its studies, that people are not engaged at work because they are not using their talents and strengths. For some people, I am sure that is part of the reason they appear to their bosses and colleagues to be unmotivated/demotivated. However, that cannot be the root cause of boredom and lack of motivation.
Boredom is the result of many factors, most of which can be adjusted to lesson the level of boredom and, possibly replace the boredom with a more positive and productive state of mind – enthusiasm.
While business leaders cannot be experts at assisting with certain problems that lead to boredom, they can create work environments and workplace cultures that reduce the likelihood of boredom.
It is tough to be bored when you are in a high-energy environment
Leaders can take actions that nurture elevated levels of positive action-directed energy. Employee energy grows and becomes fully positive when leaders:
- build trust by being authentic, keeping promises, and leading by example,
- build vision alignment by communicating clear, repeated messages, and stories,
- help employees take shared vision to heart,
- ask good questions and listen well when employees provide answers, and
- provide clear opportunities for employees to unleash their potential.
The Benefits of Sharing Intergenerational Vision
Recently a very good friend of mine used the term “Rising Generation”. We were attending a family-business meeting and she meant the people who will become the next leaders of family businesses.
I adopted the words “rising gen” to describe people who are rising in organizations because they are receiving and delivering increasing value while working with others.
Stephen R Covey taught – the essence of business is relationships. I believe the essence of business is exchange of value. I believe, in business, exchange of value includes building relationships. Relationships are a subset of the value exchanged in business. No question – relationships are an essential ingredient of life and of business. [Unless, I suppose, one lives the life of a hermit.] Certainly, relationships are an essential feature of human society…for family, for community, and for civilization.
The power in Agreement on Exchange of Value©
Business is about exchanging value. Business people receive and deliver value to one another.
This applies to the relationship between the employer and the employees.
Business works best when 3 things happen:
- people agree to exchange value with one another, and that value is understood by all involved,
- people deliver the value others expected them to deliver, and
- people receive the value they expected to receive.
When these 3 things happen everyone receives value, nobody receives bad-news surprises, and trust grows.
Some people, perhaps most people, want to know why they are expected to do things at work and what is motivating others to do what they are doing at work. People who want to achieve success in a business career want to know these things. They also want to know their company’s “Vision of Success”.
People who want to achieve goals know what success means to them. They can visualize successful outcomes and can describe their vision of a better future to others. Leaders need to share their vision of a better future with rising gen people. Rising gen people need to share their vision of a better future with leaders…and vice-versa.
The benefit of sharing vision is sharing success.
Success motivates people.
It is exceedingly difficult to be motivated and bored at the same time.
“Rising Gen” Employee Engagement: Be There and Communicate
I have had the good fortune to have worked with amazing rising gen people during the last few years.
Our working activities generated friendships, built on open communication. I had the opportunity to see very skilled people using their strengths with enthusiasm.
I talked with rising gen people who were interested in sharing their thoughts on what was important to them. They talked about the value they saw in flexible timing for work and work location: I learned their views about work-life balance, and I was impressed by the clarity and openness of their messages. Their choices were energizing.
We shared opinions on Values. I learned that rising gen people give a lot of thought to interpersonal interactions, ethics, and trust. We shared views on our corporate Values: Courage, Confidence, Conviction, Curiosity, and Consideration. Of those Values, Confidence generated the most discussion. Rising gen people were open to talk about the ebbs and flows of self-confidence.
We talked about self-confidence, talents, and strengths, exchanging stories about the best of times and the worst of times. Rising gen people are very self-aware and know how to apply their strengths to specialized work.
We talked about health, safety, and COVID. I did not hear complaints or bravado. I heard intelligent viewpoints on these topics. I heard consideration for others. Overall, I heard thoughtful observations and differing ways to make the most out of challenging situations.
We had many discussions about Vision. Rising gen people were very curious about their company’s plans. Sharing thoughts about company and personal Vision and views about the future is especially important during these unusual [COVID] times.
Our conversations reconfirmed that trust is built on clear, consistent communication about important things like work-life balance and personal views of success.