Do You Whistle While You Work?


Some of you may remember about eight (?) years ago, there were some government bailouts of companies that weren’t doing well.

It made the news that some of the corporate executive “celebrated” the bailout by giving themselves a bonus or a high ticket resort getaway!  You can imagine how the employees felt since they were the ones actually doing the day-to-day tasks, yet the executives reaped the benefits!  I’m sure it didn’t do a lot for company morale!  But, sadly, that’s how it happens … one of those “the rich get richer” scenarios, huh?

Many years ago, someone sent me a book review of a novel called “The Boss”.  The author pointed out that contented workers who are treated fairly and with respect and appreciation make a business thrive, and business owners, managers and bosses should be more sensitive to this.  Some bosses, however, “behave badly”, so the book says, and set a very poor example for their employees.

The author had seen the story he told from both sides.  He had been both a boss as well as an employee during his 25-year career.  He grew up in Australia and studied economics, industrial relations and psychology.  With the psychology background, he understood the inner workings of human behavior and its interaction within the workplace.  He wrote that bad bosses equal bad business, and since businesses need to survive, he was sharing some pointers (based on true stories) through his work of fiction.

During his research and interview process, the author met with many employees of all sorts.  His findings were pretty disturbing – that most people, although they want to give their energy to their work, get very little professional satisfaction from their jobs.   Here are just a few of his findings:

– Most people leave their jobs not because of the work challenge, nor lack of recognition, nor even salary issues.  Most people leave because of the quality (or lack thereof) of their boss!

– Most exit employees resigned to escape the frustration of dealing with their immediate supervisor.

– Job stress forced the incidence of employee heart attacks up to 64%.

The author discussed power – negative power.   He reported that poor managers within even the best of companies don’t lose their jobs as long as they get results.  They are permitted to treat those they manage any way they want to as long as upper management “sees the numbers”.   Perhaps the saddest part is that most employees are faced with the same struggle – making ends meet and supporting their families.  Many may feel forced to stay where they are because the job market is so poor.  But working in a stressful environment and staying where they are unhappy leaves them with a feeling of helplessness, low self-esteem, and self-doubt.  Essentially, they feel trapped.  What kind of production does that lead to????  The author says that happy workers are a dying breed … and what does that mean to the economy?  Unhappy workers who feel trapped and frustrated become angry and won’t care as much about the job they perform.  Therefore, they will be less productive … and ultimately, more companies will eventually flounder. Attitude trickles down from management to employees and is BAD for business.

If it is true that satisfied workers are becoming an endangered species, that is not good news.  But, he adds that it can be reversed and done simply by managers learning to improve their people skills and being more sensitive to employee treatment.  If you are a business executive who cares about staying afloat, perhaps “The Boss” might make good reading.  The sad thing is that most executives justify their behavior and have convinced themselves that they are doing what needs to be done.  They continue to excuse their bad behavior, seeing no need for self-improvement on their part.  Unfortunately, those who need to read the book most will probably see no reason to ever turn a page of this book!

According to these findings, I guess there are not many employees left in this world who still whistle while they work!  But I think I must be safe!  Now that I’m working from home and under the same roof with my mother all the time, she says she thinks it agrees with me because she notices me whistling!  I guess that means I have successfully adjusted to working from home.

This week’s dessert, I think, is great ‘food for thought’!  Whether you’re a business executive or not, if you are in any sort of leadership position, it seems like good advice.

This week’s dessert:  “A boss creates fear; a leader confidence.  A boss fixes blame; a leader corrects mistakes.  A boss knows all; a leader asks questions.  A boss makes work drudgery; a leader makes it interesting.  A boss is interested in himself or herself; a leader is interested in the group.”  ~  Russell H. Ewing

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