It always amazes me how little time leaders and managers WANT to spend with their people. I say want because that is reality. They say they are busy but that's just the excuse. They bury themselves in work rather than have a 10-minute conversation with their employees.
Unfortunately, it is the same across sectors and I started to think, if it is the same everywhere, maybe we are wrong pushing it otherwise. I know it's wrong and disagree with it, but it makes me think that way.
But why do we have to force leaders to talk to their people? Why don't they see it as the biggest part of their job? Why are they so focused on the technical aspect of the work and delivering KPIs?
There is a massive disconnect between leaders and their people and somewhat we can blame ourselves.
We love posting quotes like “People leave managers”, “leaders create other leaders” or “Your job as a leader is your people” yet we ask those managers and leaders to talk about business performance but never ask them to talk about their people. Just watch any interview or listen during a meeting. Leaders cannot even talk for their teams. Even when it looks like they are talking about their teams it is mostly driven by something work-related they want to get down.
The other day, I had to "force" 16 senior leaders to talk for their people. It was interesting to see how difficult they found this exercise. But when I asked them to talk about and for the business they could not stop talking.
To make up for our leaders' and managers' inability to talk about the people they manage and lead we ask a third party, HR to talk about people who they don’t manage and, in some cases don’t even know their names or never met. It is an absurd situation if you ask me. As a leader I don't want HR to talk about my people, I will talk about my people just like I talk about the results my people have achieved.
Maybe it is time to ask leaders and managers to talk about their people as much as they talk about business results and KPIs, it would be a great start in shaping the future of work.
If you want help with that let us know.