Studies show one of the many causes of a disengaged workforce is insensitivity from managers.
Management insensitivity refers to managers who lack sensitivity to the needs of their employees, their customers, and/or their vendors. They don’t seem to care about the big or little things that are important to others—an approach that can demoralize employees and cause them to become disengaged.
As an example, when employees have a work-related problem and approach their manager about the problem, they expect reasonable action toward a solution. However, an insensitive manager dismisses the problem as insignificant and tells them to “forget about the problem and go back to work.” They then disengage from their work, adopting the attitude that “if my manager doesn’t care, why should we care?”
Further, when employees are dealing with a problem that’s personal (e.g., sick child, ill parent, death in family), an insensitive manager shows no empathy and only cares about the assigned work getting done. Again, employees feel that their manager doesn’t care about them as people, so why care about leadership?
Well, there might have been a time when an insensitive manager thrived in the workplace, but not anymore. These days, insensitive leaders are being called out in different ways. For example, you may have heard about the UK chairman of KPMG, a large accounting firm. He resigned after making insensitive comments when addressing employees on a virtual meeting call. You can read about it here.
Recognize your level of sensitivity to the problems your people are facing. Doing so is critical to having engaged employees and possibly keeping your leadership position.
These words of wisdom from Warren Buffet serve as a reminder for this important lesson:
“Surround yourself with people who push you to do better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.” – Warren Buffet
Also consider one of my favorite sayings:
“Choose your words wisely and you will generate excitement, enthusiasm, and engagement. Choose them poorly, and you will have missed a golden opportunity.”