Lincoln’s Rock is a remote overlook nestled in the Blue Mountains of Australia. It lies at the end of a rough dirt pathway and involves a steep scramble over rocks and scraggly brush. The view, however, is well worth the detour from the main road. The ground drops away suddenly revealing a gorgeous valley of green. It truly takes your breath away.
Yet, carved in one of the rocks leading up to the cliff’s edge, I found this message: “HERE I AM STARVED” with a date too weathered by time to be readable. In the midst of such incredible beauty was a message from someone who, long ago, felt anything but inspired by their surroundings. Gazing at this image, I imagined an explorer – someone who’d set out on an adventure to accomplish great things – suddenly overwhelmed by isolation and loneliness…either literally or figuratively, they were starving.
Even in the midst of our excess employees can often feel this same sense of exasperation. Canadian researchers found that feelings of isolation at work are not only more common, but more damaging than workplace harassment. The social aspect of work is a critical component that shouldn’t be ignored, and yet the most distant of all relationships tends to be that between an employee and their manager.
In his book “What People Want,” author Terry Bacon shares the results of an interesting survey of United Stated employees. It paints a pretty clear picture of what workers are hungry for.
Honesty: 90% said they wanted more honesty and integrity from their manager.
Fairness: 89% want their manager to be fair and to hold all employees accountable to the same standards.
Trust: More than 86% want to trust, and be trusted by, their manager.
Respect: 84% want to respect, and be respected by, their manager.
Dependability: 81% wish they could count on their manager when needed.
Collaboration: 77% want to be part of their manager’s team and be asked to contribute ideas and solutions.
Genuineness: 76% wish their manager was a more genuine person.
Appreciation: 74% want to be appreciated for who they are and what they do.
Responsiveness: 74% want to be listened to, understood, and responded to.
These nine characteristics may seem fairly basic; and as the title of Bacon’s book illustrates, you don’t have to be an employee to desire these things. They’re traits that any person hungers for, and depends on those around them to provide.
We often think of work in terms of a journey. We’re climbing a mountain, running a race, or blazing a trail. We’re on a mission to reach our goals, or maybe just the weekend. Regardless, the journey is always easier when it’s shared with others who feed you along the way.
As we make our way through the twists and turns of 2019, let’s take time to make sure those around us are getting the nourishment they need to finish the journey with us.