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Is your organization rotting from the head down?


“You are putting me in a bad headspace, sir. I can’t back this company when you are treating me like that!”

This excerpt is from a conversation between a senior employee and a company manager.

The old saying “the fish rots from the head down” refers not only to the biology of fish, but to failing organizations and how blame about what is happening rests with the leadership.

For the most part, employees come to work “well intentioned and only turn sour when their basic needs aren’t being met.”

Therefore, when there is consistent disengagement among employees, it’s time to examine the ‘head’.

However, before it’s determined that the managers, and not the employees, are responsible for the company’s financial dilemma, let’s look at some things managers do in the workplace to engage or disengage employees.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, employees supervised by highly engaged managers are 59 per cent more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

Studies have also shown that engagement is higher among employees whose managers have daily communication with them, whether in person, via telephone or email.

Similarly, employees who receive an annual performance review “become more productive, profitable, and creative contributors to their organization.”

Finally, Gallup researchers have also determined that “building employees’ strengths is a far more effective approach than a fixation on weaknesses.”

The manager sets the pace and is undoubtedly the most vital to the company’s performance.

How do you measure up as a manager? Remember, employees don’t leave companies… employees leave managers.