Colin D Ellis
Leadership | Culture | Success

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'Nobody likes a moaner'

An old boss of mine once said "nobody likes a moaner and they're bloody rife in this organisation. Take Nigel for instance, all he does is pick holes in everybody else when his own behaviours are appalling. He'd think nothing of smiling at you then destroying you behind your back."

The irony of this conversation wasn't lost on me, neither was the point that nobody likes a moaner. Yet what if, instead of thinking that, managers actually asked people why they felt that way and acted on their own behaviours, not those of their team? Wouldn't that be better?

If the statistics are to be believed, 87% of staff who leave their jobs here in Australia do so because of their boss. You can bet there'll have been a fair bit of moaning before they left too. They will probably have had an exit interview at which – sometimes for the first time – they'd have been asked their opinion on how they're being managed, which is where we'll have gathered that statistic.

Imagine how different things could have been if they'd been asked before they left, maybe on a weekly basis? Imagine if the manager had shown an interest in their life, their ideas, their wellbeing and tailored their communications and approach accordingly.

No-one that I've come across in my life wants to hate work. In fact it's the opposite. People start off with great intentions, with the promises made during their job interview ringing in their ears, excited about the future and the value they can add. They hear all about the vision and values and are desperate to be a part of something that lines up with what they stand for.

Then somewhere along the way (sometimes within the first week) those same managers that enthused about the job at the interview lose interest in those people. They stop checking in on their wellbeing so they feel cared for, stop setting expectations in order that they can feel motivated, stop saying thanks in order that they feel the gratitude for their efforts and stop asking for their input so they feel that their ideas are valued.

So understandably - they're only human after all - they moan. To their friends, families, colleagues, anyone who will listen. When managers see them doing it, hear about it or see their performance dip, they suddenly take interest again and it's how they react to it that makes all the difference.

Conscious leaders will think about how they got to that point and change their approach to ensure the team member never feels that way again. Managers will take them to task and think that this is the way to motivate them. It isn't and never has been.

We are all human and need to be loved. Being in work doesn't change that.

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