We are in this together . . TrustBUSTER#10 – Asks team to make sacrifices, but does not follow

TrustBUSTER #10 – Asks team to make sacrifices ($ / time), but does not make same sacrifices

Something good came out of the most recent recession – shared pain.  When organizations have to cut as deep as they did, people saw the ‘shared’ part of it.  Money and other perks went away, so the pain from all parties was shared in most cases.  Here are three things that causes this TrustBUSTER and two ways to make it go away.

What causes it?

  • Executive – Sees the perks as entitlements.  Cars every two years, club memberships, assistant to pick up dry cleaning, or maybe the box at the local sports venue.  Is it part of your base compensation?  No.  Is it a performance bonus? No.  Is it something that is earned because of the stress and personal sacrifices made for work?  Probably the closest thing to a reason there is.  What employee will empathize with the last reason?  Enter TrustBUSTER #10.
  • Employee – Sees their work as the hard stuff and wonders what their boss actually does to earn their money.  Printing executive pay scales sells papers.  Piling on the working class for spending too much time complaining does not.  Studies have found that compensation is not a motivator, but can be a demotivator if there is a perceived inequality.  The only wisdom I can offer is my experience hearing leaders wish for their old job back.  It is not as easy as it looks.
  • Both – “If you could only walk in my shoes for a day!”  There is a TV show called Undercover Bosswhere the owner of a company spends a week doing frontline jobs in their company as an anonymous new hire.  I am not sure if it is all real, but it shows the impact of leaders getting their hands dirty once in a while.  Sam Walton was famous for visiting Walmart stores to interact with people directly.  I am guessing this one was not as much of a problem for him.  Too bad there is not a show allowing people to be a leader for a day.

Two solutions:

  1. Leader – get out of your office and talk to people – A chief nursing officer once shared conversation she had with a new nursing graduate.  The RN asked “Who drives you to work?”  An innocent perception of inequality.  Makes you wonder how many people thought that but were afraid to ask?  It is impossible for a CEO to know everyone, but the more you focus on people seeing you in normal situations the more you will be seen as a person and not a primadona.  Being seen in the cafeteria or the lunchroom a couple of times a week makes you  accessible and normal.  Take it to the next level and try sitting with non-executives when you eat.
  2. Look for chances to get to know your leaders – Your leader asks you to lunch?  Go.  Is there a corporate function?  Go and seek out leaders to meet and hear what they are thinking about.  When you get a chance to ask them questions, here are a few:  What have you learned lately?  What are your favorite things to do what you are not working?  What are the things that keep you up at night?  What do you want me losing sleep over?  

This trustBUSTER goes away when leaders and followers get to know each others.  For leaders, it is harder to implement a one-sided sacrifice when those on the short end actually have a name.  For followers, seeing leaders as people helps to alleviate some of the us versus them thoughts that fuel this TrustBUSTER.