“A company is people. Employees want to know-am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.” -Sir Richard Branson
Burnout: The exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. (Mirriam-Webster Definition)
I never knew what burnout was. I had worked for years under various management, corporate ideologies and temperaments until I thought my knuckles would bleed from violently navigating various systems in desperate attempts to try to do a good job.
But it wasn’t me. I was burned out. Big time. I talked to my boss about it. I expressed my concerns. What happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. No one listened.
“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”- Zig Ziglar
If you don’t listen to your employees they will think you don’t like them. You see when an employee gets tired it shows. They may feel undervalued, overworked and just plain frustrated with the in’s and out’s of their daily jobs, but one truth remains.
Burnout is just a fraction of the problem employees face.
There is always a fuel to the fire of this cause for employee retention issues. And it always starts with management.
Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes businesses take an unlucky guess hiring an employee who turns out to be a lazy slob in the job and unreliable. I’m not talking about those losers. I’m talking about the employee you have who is always on time, does their best and often wins awards and always dependable.
The employee you never listen to. “Before you act, listen…” -Ernest Hemingway
The ONE problem management has that tells a good employee they have a bad boss is: The manager doesn’t listen to them.
They just don’t listen.
Maybe the “good” employee has been trying to get your attention. Maybe that employee has been trying really hard to make positive changes in the corporation but keeps falling on deaf ears. Maybe that employee has been trying to talk to you, but you interrupt and intersect your own feelings and ideas based on your role in management.
The problem with bad bosses is they just don’t listen.
They don’t care about the employee’s needs. They don’t want to listen to petty issues about problems and road blocks making the employee’s job harder. They don’t listen when the employee expresses concern about the scheduling, or other things that come up due to life.
Bad bosses don’t listen.
So then because the good employee has a bad boss who doesn’t listen, that employee puts the wall up. They become disengaged. They hold it all in. They take notes. They become complacent. They often start looking elsewhere for employment or do what they can to make lateral moves or get promoted to get out of there. They start working just to have a day off. Which is another problem: “If you live for the weekends and vacations, your shit is broken.” -Gary Vaynerchuck
That employee starts exhibiting signs of burnout. Their work performance may start to have negative impacts on the team. They are just there to punch a time clock then have a day off. Employee burnout starts somewhere. Pretty soon the whole team suffers.
When no one listens, businesses lose revenue. Employees leave bad managers. Bad managers who refuse to change and wise up will keep driving good employees away and the job will start catapulting people through revolving doors. The turnover rate will be high. The online reviews will show burned out former employees leaving their negative remarks for the world to see.
But did anyone listen to them? Did anyone listen when a boss expected unethical behavior or else threaten their employment if they didn’t do something? Did HR listen to the employees filing complaints or concerns, hoping someone somewhere up top would do something about this bad manager?
Bad bosses don’t listen. And bad bosses start at the top and trickle down, sadly. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen Covey
So good employees leave bad bosses and companies, and nothing is done for retention because no one listened. The ONE truth about working under a bad boss is, you know you have a bad manager when they do not listen.
And until top level management or Corporate owner’s actually invest in hiring the right bosses who exhibit empathetic listening skills and accountability, nothing will change.
“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”-Bill Carney