Jul 28 2020| Leadership
by Phil Eyre Founder
If the last three months have shown us anything, it’s that we can work far more flexibly than we thought, even in non-office sectors, including manufacturing. However, in my opinion, whilst organising where our people work is necessary, we run the risk of missing something far more important.
It’s not where we all work that matters, it’s why.
Great leaders inspire their people towards compelling objectives. Paying the bills is an important baseline motivation. But it’s only a base. For people to give discretionary effort, they need meaningful, even joy-inducing, objectives.
Why go the extra mile if that mile takes you nowhere interesting?
For some, this is closely connected with the ambitions of the business. Are we here just to get paid, or are we making a tangible difference? For others, connecting with what makes life meaningful is closer to home.
I never fail to be keenly inspired by brilliant working parents who manage to invest themselves with passion into both their work and their homes. Good leaders know how to connect what motivates their people personally with the needs of their business.
There is no upper limit to the power of empathy, nor to the devastating impact on team morale of insensitive and uncaring leaders.
Now, more than ever, leaders need to reaffirm and perhaps reassess the ‘why’ of their organisations and their people. Otherwise, too much focus on day-to-day management - like over-crafting flexible working policies - could make us blind to new opportunities or new risks.
‘Why?’ is often the most provocative and challenging question that we at Leaders put to our clients. This seemingly simple and mundane question takes us straight to the core purpose of the organisation. It is also inherently outward-looking, focused on who we serve and the impact we make.
If, during the recent and understandable focus on practical ‘business as usual’ matters, you have lost sight of the purpose of your work, now is the time to take stock.
Happily, there are business leaders in our islands who work hard to stay out of the weeds and keep a determined focus on the future. This is enabling:
In every case, where people are working is secondary to why.
You can find more of my insights into working from home, flexible work and getting back to the office in the August edition of Business Brief.