The powerful blog post “The Day My Son Gave Up On Me” is an amazing read for any parent. Yet the more I thought about her question, “What else did he stop asking me?” the more I realized this applies to more than just our children. What have our employees stopped asking us because we bosses are always “too busy,” “running late,” or “on a time template”? Are some employee questions annoying? You bet. And are you really too busy sometimes? Absolutely. But the overall attitude of broken promises and too busy can make our team stop having expectations of us – and stop asking us the important questions. “How do we make a difference for clients?” “How does this new service help our clients?” “Is our future as a business stable? Are we going to be OK?” And we walk in one day to an empty desk and a termination letter with their key.
And employees, what have our bosses stopped asking us? We too are “swamped” and “overwhelmed” and have some things we “don’t know how to do” and “we need to stick to our agenda.” Are there instances when that is true? You betcha – probably several times a day. But what has our overall attitude made our bosses stop expecting of us and asking us? Do they leave us alone, because we constantly ask them to, and no longer ask us for our opinion? Have they stopped asking us where we want to grow in the company because we are “overworked and overwhelmed”? And then we walk in one day and realize our job has become a to-do list and the connection and meaning we used to feel is gone.
Are there tips, tools and techniques to deal with all the “too busy” and “overworked” reasons? Yes, our blog posts and book are full of them. But when we exude “leave me alone” or “hurry up and let me get back to work” on a constant basis, the people most important to us stop asking – and stop connecting. And then what’s it all for?