Workplace expectations mirror family

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

As I ponder today&8217;s work life, I realize that we live in a fortunate time. Granted, virtually everyone in the developed world is working possibly harder than ever before. Unlike past generations that used their backs to create a better life for their children, today&8217;s workers &8212; at every level in every organization &8212; must use their minds, a fact that frequently contributes to great levels of exhaustion and stress.

Yet today&8217;s workers are rising to this challenge. They contribute unprecedented levels of creativity and energy. Most importantly, though, they know they are contributing to the success of today&8217;s organizations. A recent survey, How Individuals Contribute to Company Growth, shows that even part-time workers feel they contribute a great deal to their organization&8217;s growth.

Leadership is important, the survey respondents say, but it is very different from contributions. Leaders exist at all levels. They manifest the attributes of trust, communication and integrity, but they are only a small part of the story in today&8217;s workforce.

Instead, we find that creating a workforce that not only contributes to the organization&8217;s success but also knows and feels pride in the fact that it plays a key role in the organization&8217;s growth encompasses developing a relationship nearly identical to that of a successful family. Following are strategies for developing a family-like workplace:

Build trust. Children and spouses look for the establishment of trust and credibility in the relationship. If inconsistent, it&8217;s hard to know how to act and react. They don&8217;t know what&8217;s expected at any given moment and whether they&8217;ve reached a goal or fallen short. They also don&8217;t know what will happen if they reach a goal or worse yet, if circumstances beyond their control prevent them from reaching the goal.

Workers expect that same trust and credibility from their leaders but also from each other. They also demand it of themselves. Only then do they feel they can effectively contribute to an organization&8217;s growth.

This is especially important when executives have bad news to deliver. If the company is in trouble, be honest and say you have to take these actions. You&8217;ll be demonstrating the highest integrity.