Why are We Still Talking About This?

I’ve written before about insights from Fred Kofman’s The Meaning Revolution, and I will keep doing so from time to time. It’s full of gold.

But one page, one paragraph specifically, made me kinda mad. From page 50:

“Study after study concludes that a caring manager is essential to employee engagement. Employees want their managers to care about their personal lives, to make an interest in them as people, to care about how they feel, and to support their health and well-being. A manager’s ability to build strong relationships with employees, build strong team interaction, and lead in a person-centered way creates an environment in which employees perform at their best.”

Kofman, F. (2018). The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership. Penguin Random House, New York.

This was toward the end of the chapter on disengagement, as one of the four hard problems organizations face.

It’s 2019. There’s so much data on employee performance being linked to caring and interested managers. And yet, I see leaders trying so hard to figure out why their employee engagement survey scores are low. One department or another has strangely low performance compared to others within the group. Companies are coming up with creative and clever ways to increase engagement. Sure, sometimes there are complex factors, but so often, it’s simply the approach of the manager or leader.

How many more books, speeches, studies, and consultation engagements have to be executed before this becomes a “duh”? Every time I read about managers needing to build relationships with their direct reports, it seems to be presented as a grand insight. But it’s basic—we’ve known this for a long time.

How long until relationship-building becomes endemic? Why are we still needing to talk about this?

What do you think? Really—I’m anxious to know why YOU think this concept isn’t catching on.

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