“I love molecules,” explains Marcus. “You apply a certain amount of heat and a certain amount of pressure and you know exactly what is going to happen. At the start of my career I did great with molecules. But now I work with people. People are unpredictable. You apply a certain amount of heat and a certain amount of pressure, and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Yesterday, we began our exploration of Fred Kofman‘s book Conscious Business. Fred tells us that front line management is the single greatest leverage point to creating better, more engaged organizations.
Senior leadership can provide an inspiring vision and solid strategy but it is front-line managers who determine the everyday world of our team members. Only conscious managers can elicit associate engagement.
As their careers evolve and they take on more responsibility, managers like Marcus stumble and fall.
Success in business requires working with human beings. Many managers fail to make the transition from the operational requirements of the lower rungs of the corporate ladder to the leadership requirements of the higher ones.
Fred’s book outlines the basic principles and skills needed to help us work with people while honoring their conscious nature. These concepts are valuable for anyone, but especially so for those of us who manage and lead others.
“Talented employees need great managers,” write Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in First, Break All the Rules, which was based on more than 80,000 manager interviews by the Gallup Organization. “The talented employee may join a company because of it charismatic leaders, its generous benefits and its world class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive he is while he is there is determined by his relationship with this immediate supervisor.”
“If management views workers not as valuable, unique individuals but as tools to be discarded when no longer needed,” writes Fred quoting Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “then employees will also regard the firm as nothing more than a machine for issuing paychecks, with no other value or meaning. Under such conditions it is difficult to do a good job, let alone to enjoy one’s work.”
Reflection: What is the level of engagement of my team?
Action: Read Fred Kofman’s Conscious Business.