Latest tech gadget or big bonus? No. Gifts and cash do little or nothing to improve employee satisfaction and performance
Extra vacation days? No. Unfortunately, absence from work does not make the heart grow fonder
Boozy holiday party? No. How will you retain talent the other 11 months of the year?
The greatest gift to employees is your Compassionate Presence as a leader. Make your employees’ holiday season, and every day at work, more productive by being present for them in a kind way.
Employees crave connection with you as the leader. They want to know their ideas matter. They want to be seen as an individual beyond their achievements, beyond their role. Beyond free food or fun perks, employees want to know: Am I learning? Am I being challenged? Do I feel valued? Do I respect my boss and does he or she respect me? Am I being of service to my colleagues and/or customers?
How, as executives, can we meet these deeper employee needs?
To One Firmly Established in Compassion, All Disconnect Ceases -- Yoga Sutra 2.35
Yoga wisdom recognizes that when we are able to practice non-violence (e.g. kindness), we no longer create hostilities, apathy or disengagement. Instead of lashing out, we invite in and welcome the full experience of ourselves and our workers. This is team bonding and employee loyalty in the creation of great companies.
Ironically, it starts with being kind to yourself and connected to your job. Why do you do come to work each day? Are you growing, valued? Are you hard on yourself or do you recognize your humanity and forgive your mistakes? Can you stay calm and even joyful on the toughest of days? Are you a good listener to your inner executive?
This doesn’t mean you stop “working” so that you can hold everyone’s hand and wipe their tears or pat them on their back. It means reframing your to-do list to include listening, connecting, respecting – taking the time to ask about their weekend, and more importantly, their opinions on the company strategy, products and services. Asking how you could better respond to customers. Giving employees honest feedback, real-time, on how they did or did not add value in a meeting or on a client call. And while you likely can’t do this for each employee, you can train yourself, and your managers, to Lead from the Heart through self-awareness and mindfulness techniques like those I’ll be sharing through Executive Sutra.
John Russett, a now-retired manufacturing executive, made it a point to say hello to each of his employees first thing every morning – no matter how early his first meeting, before he went into his office, even before his coffee (yeah, he was a rockstar boss). It was clear that we were the #1 priority for him. And because of that, I’ve never worked harder for anyone, nor felt more committed to my job. I’ll admit, I cried when he announced he was leaving our department for a bigger role.
What’s the value of an engaged employee, working for a compassionate leader? How will you give the gift of Compassionate Presence with your employees this holiday season?
Try this simple meditation – place your palms just below your collarbones on your chest. Breathe up into your hands so the chest is lifting and expanding outward. Take 3 minutes, breathing deeply here to connect with yourself. Then identify one employee with whom to call, email or connect with today.