The failure of leaders to effectively deal with workplace issues continues to amaze me. The chorus of complaints includes poor morale, high turnover, low productivity, hostile culture, absentee leadership, no accountability, poor job fit — just to name a few. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you are part of the old or new economy, just starting out or mid-career, in the private or public sector, or come from the shop floor or executive ranks — no one seems to be having much fun. Stress-related work absences continue to climb. Wellness programs proliferate. Everyone is exhorted to meditate and think positively, yet the underlying problems go unaddressed.
When you dig deeper into workplace unhappiness you discover that everyone knows what needs to be fixed, but nobody seems to know how to do it, or where to start. When asked, many leaders admit that they are uncomfortable raising sensitive issues, and workers don’t speak up for fear of reprisal. We all know what it means to work in an organization where fear and ignorance are paid forward, and where the “culture of fear” keeps everyone in line.