My business is a tribe, and I am the chief. Or how else do you explain the result of the Linked Personnel Panel regarding quality of work and economic success that took place at the end of last year?
Researchers asked employees working at German companies the reasons for changing jobs in the past years. On the very top: The desire for a good working atmosphere, followed by better superiors, and fair treatment from colleagues came in third. A higher salary only ranked 5th as a reason for changing employment.
Isn’t it amazing that the prospect of earning more money only ranked 5th on that list? But take a closer look at ranks 1 to 3: They show that people want to be part of an intact group at the workplace. Therefore, the desire to belong to the tribe takes the top position.
The dictionary’s description of tribe: “A larger group of people, who differ from other groups in relation to different commonalities”. Since the work atmosphere, the tribe’s environment, is obviously important, executives may ask themselves what makes up their tribe and what makes it different from other groups.
With that, I don’t mean things like free cereal in the office kitchen, employee discounts for company products or ergonomic rubber balls instead of rickety office chairs. I’m talking about true tribal commonalities.
How do executives make sure that their employees feel comfortable when working together and at the same time accept you as the tribal chief who does a good job?
The ideal work atmosphere empowers and encourages the personnel. Further training and an in-house kindergarten definitely supports this approach. However, there are three crucial factors: a sense of togetherness and mutual assistance within the team, a feedback culture where positive and negative issues are discussed openly, and a work atmosphere where employees also take responsibility for challenging tasks. Furthermore, a respected boss and esteemed chief shows interest in his staff – along with an open ear for their concerns and worries. Oftentimes, the key to this is good communication and investing time in talks with employees.
It is clearly evident that the bosses‘ leadership practices are much more important than how much they pay their personnel.
So go ahead and take care of your tribe: Look after its members. But don’t forget to address – in explicit terms – things that aren’t going well: wield the tomahawk and make clear statements! But also remember to relinquish responsibility and to have faith in your employees and their skills / abilities: Smoke the peace pipe!
So what do you think? I, for one, will go back to work now. My new nick name … Sitting Bull.