So the internet exists since the 1980s and has revolutionized the way we work, we purchase, we inform ourselves and also the way we communicate. This has led to the creation of so many new businesses and the end of so many others. There is no way to live without the internet unless you are a goat keeper at the top of the mountain.

A very famous term those days is Digital Transformation. In some ways it relates to the integration of Information Technologies and Internet in businesses (and every day life). This is the box where you can put anything and everything that is connected to the use of Internet and computers from Social Media, to IT security, working from home plus many more. One interesting fact is that many companies are struggling with the digital transformation and the Industry 4.0 and whatever the hell you can call it  because it does not mean anything to their business. Companies start this digital transformation without answering the following questions:



Most of the time companies do not answer those questions because they have no time, they do not know where to start, they may be overwhelmed by the many factors they must pay attention to, they cannot think about everything. They are lost. They need a change, they may have an idea of their most urgent needs but are paralyzed by the "security of doing it as it was always done", by their "organizational habits", by their "fear of change", their "resistance".

Let's come back to change management 101. You cannot change something when you are not clear about your current situation and the one you want to be in in the future. The desire to look at those two important aspects of the company development only happen when the pain of remaining as you are is higher as the pain of trying something new, going in the direction of the unknown. This pain can be the realization that you may be the next one whose IT system will be hacked (if it is not already the case), not being able to attract younger generations to replace you baby boomers, loosing clients to a competitor who went all in with this Digital Transformation.

So yes, now you understand that you need to do something about this digital transformation before it kills or at leats weakens your company. What would you do as a company to answer those questions? Write your answer in the comment  below.

Give this post a like if you found it interesting and share it with your friends!

You can find me on Twitter & Linkedin

P.S.: If you want an answer to your digital transformation question and work in the USA or Europe. I will be happy to become your adviser.
Organizations desire more diversity because it brings many competitive benefits.  Divers teams are more creative, answer to problems in a variety of ways and react with more empathy to the customer's needs. I discussed 4 habits that can help create a more inclusive culture. Employees need to feel that they are treated with fairness and openness and that cooperation and support are core to the company's culture. In fact there is a 5th habit that will complement the 4 others: Employees Empowerment.  But what is it?


A. A definition of Empowerment 

Empowerment is to give the power to an employee so that he can execute his work using is full power. You empower your employees when they are allowed to take decisions on the way they perform their job. You empower them by trusting their capabilities to be independent.

One important thing is also to recognize that each individual has a different definition of empowerment. I may define empowerment as letting me do what ever I want as long as you get the end result. This would be my definition of empowerment. Someone else may feel powerless if you told them to achieve their weekly goals without giving them advice on how to get there. This is the tricky part. As a leader you have to find out how to empower each employee while making them feel all valued.

Your challenge is not to empower the mass but to empower individuals. You need to adapt your actions based on the person in front of you. This is where Emotional Intelligence is a key. You need some empathy to feel what the other person needs and ask questions to make sure that you are on the right track. "Do you prefer a monthly or weekly meeting to discuss the evolution toward your goals?"
"Are you willing to work more independently?" "How do you feel about deciding how to do your job and share your insights with me in order to find the best strategy?"

Empowering someone is helping him to find his voice. It is allowing employees to express their needs and desires while making sure it helps the business move forward. What will create a win-win result? What can you give employees so that they thrive?

B. How to empower my employees?

It is always easier said than done and each leader needs a different set of advice but in general there are few thing at which you could become better at. I encourage you to look at your habits and behavior and see which one you could try to improve or reinforce. Do not try to change everything at once. It won't work. Decide on one behavior and track your evolution. 

A leader that empowers its employees:

  • gives them goals & expectation
  • Encourages them 
  • Allows autonomous work
  • is friendly 
  • is positive 
  • recognizes individuals work 
  • gives regular Feedback & Feed-forwards  
You may decide to encourage more your employees. How does it looks like? What do you say or do? What reaction are you expecting to have? When do you think you have learned a new habit? 

Personal development requires time, dedication and the ultimate desire to become a better person. You cannot expect the world to change if you do not change yourself. Your company culture has to change one person at a time. 

A good inclusion strategy should entail support. Usually, companies want to include minorities in an homogeneous group. The homogeneous group is usually made of men and the minorities are either women or people from a different ethnicity. There is a need of adaptation for all employees who will need some kind of support to go through the transition. Let's imagine for a minute that each group is a primary color. Your aim as a company is to use all colors you have in order to create a more colorful picture. You can either mix colors together or let them separated which will only let you with the three primary colors that we know. Alone they are blue, red, and yellow and if you start to mix them thousands of colors can be created or they can be used to make each other more visible. You have more options. Your work as a leader is to make sure that the mixing takes place and correspond to your goals. You have to support the colors to make sure that the mixing does not ends up into chaos.

We have a tendency to expect that the minority changes and adapts to the majority codes of conducts, beliefs, expectations and so on. Basically, we ask them to change their colors away. This is a desire of integration, not of inclusion. Integration means people must change themselves to be accepted. They must become red even if they are definitely yellow. Some women must have behaved like men earlier in order to go forward for example . This is a denial of our differences and richness. Inclusion allows everyone to keep his color and mix his colorful ideas, competences and experience with the one of others making the everything richer and more adaptable to a multicolored world.


We already explored the other factors that influence inclusion: fairness, openness, cooperation. Let's talk about Support.

A. A definition of support

Inclusion of a diverse workforce in a company is influenced by the support offered before, during and after the inclusion. The word "support" is very vague and it took me some time and research to grasp its meaning. The main idea behind support is that you are reinforcing someone else actions.

What does it mean to support employees when you are trying to include them in a new team. It means preparing the people who are already there so that they are welcoming and accept the new person. It is making sure that every person is treated fairly, openly and that the are included in the cooperation. It is to support the inclusion process by giving it a body of rules and making sure that positive actions are taken. You need to support all employees. 


B. How to create a support strategy my your company? 

Preparation is a must. You need to identify potential issue that may be faced when including someone who does not fit in the "current" company. In the case that the person is already in the compamy the rules are the same. Find out what causes problem and estimate what type of actions you can take in order to address the issues. You can find out quiet easily what type of problems or missunderstanding exist. We also have to acknowledge that minorities may face unethical behavior and need the support of the company to stop them. Ignoring the problem of racism and sexism does not stop it. It makes it acceptable. Most of the time people are left alone and do not feel that they would be listened of they complained or worst they complained and were ignored.

5 Steps to support your employees defined as "diversed" 

  1. Acknowledge the need of a support strategy (racism and sexism issues for example, handicapped people also face problems)
  2. Find out what the people in the minority experience
  3. Work on rules of do's and don'ts (list behavior that you will not tolerate and indicate the punishment)
  4. Create a specific role to collect and work on complains
  5. Review the level of inclusion regularly. 
There is nothing worst than silence when it comes to abusive or borderline behavior. Saying nothing is accepting it. As a leader it is your role to stand up for those who decided to follow you. 
Say no to racism, sexism, xenophobia and any other kind of exclusion because our richness is in our diversity.
In the last two blog-post, I described the first two habits of inclusion. fairness and  openness. The principle of inclusion is also related to the capacity of companies to foster cooperation. This habit is primordial for teamwork which is usually part of companies daily life. The levels of cooperation required depends on the employee's tasks. Eastern culture are more individualistic in the sense that everyone is responsible for his own success or failure which can push some of us to be uncooperative. We usually see win-lose prevail and again it depends on the company culture. In this regard developing more cooperative companies may be a challenge because we face cultural mindset and habits. Habits that originated from the culture we live in can be difficult to change because we usually lack the distance to see our own discrepancies. I found it easier to understand the french culture after living abroad, for example. Awareness is always the first step to start a process of change.


A. A definition of cooperation

It is important to agree on what we understand under cooperation before going forward. Dictionaries are our best friends when it come to define a word and we can use our intellect, past experiences, culture and a good discussion in order to elaborate a definition that sounds right to us, to the company. Here is the definition of the oxford dictionary :"The action or process of working together to the same end:" This definition when taken at the company level implies that employees have the same goal and that they take action or follow a process together to achieve it. What does it mean to you? What is your company goal? What are the actions or processes that employees can take to achieve the company's goal?

It is a good idea to sit down with your colleagues and define what cooperation is and how it should look like in your company. If you see people work against each other then you really need to sit down and ask yourself what brought them to be hostile with one another. There are many more reasons for a lack of cooperation one of them is the lack of a clear vision or policies that do not foster cooperation. Employees of your company must know why they are working and see that cooperation is rewarded. No more individual prime for success for example. Otherwise, they start to run in different direction and try to get more rewards for themselves. Cooperation cannot arise when people do not have a common sense of what is expected from them.

B. How can we create a more cooperative workplace?

Cooperation arise when people forget about their individuality and start to care for the greater goal and you can do that by developing policies that encourage and reward cooperation. The result of all our efforts is greater than the sum of our individuality. It is really truth that together we are stronger because we are divers and face the same situation with different mindsets and solutions. We can bring our energy together to move those mountains, fly to the moon... 

After an accident people will rise together to save the victims. The aim is clear: save as much people as possible. We forget about our differences and diverging opinions. We focus on now and how to save them. All big movements are made of people believing in the same future and feeling rewarded for it. This common goal is the basis of all further actions. Companies can hope for the same bound to exist between their employees. Their effort is to create a compelling Vision and policies that call the attention and hearts of their employees. The selection of employees is also a big part of companies success. You want to have employees who believe that your vision is achievable and get motivated by your incentives. You want employees whose aspiration is to achieve your vision. You need diversity in cooperation so that as many solutions as possible are generated until cooperation fuels your company to success. 


The five habits of inclusive companies: 


  1. THE FIRST HABIT OF INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE: FAIRNESS
  2. THE SECOND HABIT OF INCLUSION: OPENNESS
  3. THE THIRD HABIT OF INCLUSION: COOPERATION
  4. THE 4TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: SUPPORT
  5. THE 5TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: Employee empowerment
Inclusion is more than an idea. It is a set of habits that can be developed within companies. Last week I wrote about the first habit of inclusion: FAIRNESS and will pursue my blog series with the second habit that is necessary to achieve inclusion in the workplace: Openness




In fact, there are five habits of inclusion: fairness, openness, cooperativeness, support and empowerment. tweet this

Inclusive companies are more successful that non-inclusive ones. This has been shown by studies and well sum up in an article from Forbes: Why Diversity And Inclusion Will Be A Top Priority For 2016
I want to see a more inclusive corporate world because it not only fosters company success but it also gives the opportunity to all employees to share their knowledge, skills and experience.

A. A definition of Openness

The definition of openness can be made at the personal, group and organization level. An open individual will welcome new ideas, new experience, changes that he / she is facing. It is also this notion of being easy to access, no barriers can stop you. You may notice them because they exist but you do not put a negative judgement. An open person accepts what is. Every individual openness evolves on a continuum depending on the subject, the situation, the time he / she find himself. We will usualy define a racist, sexist person as close-minded. The barriers that he sees are the barriers that hold him / her. 

The group dynamics with openness are also very interesting. A new comer can be rejected, partially accepted or embraced in a group. The reason why a person may be accepted relates to the group identity and the one of the new comer. Similarity in culture, language, appearance make the inclusion easier in any kind of group. Open groups will welcome a person who is perceived as different b acknowledging a difference and trying to understand the other one. 

Organization openness is related to the one of the group with the only expection that organization as the unification of individuals to achieve a common goal. Organization have a culture and each subgroup in the organization too. The dynamics that exist within companies can be mapped thanks to social networking analysis, to not confuse with social media. You can identify where are hot spot for communication and where people are left alone. 

B. How can I improve my company openness?

I have a personal theory about openness which is as follow: You are open when you accept that the world around you is a perception that is influenced by your culture, values, and beliefs. In order to create more openness in organization you should try to share your perception with your colleagues and listen to them. Accepting that the perception of the other one is not less or more valuable than yours. It is just a perception. I invite you to read my post on a workshop that you could use in your company. It is based on the poem of "the blind men and the elephant". 

I will write an article on how to change an habit after the Inclusion Series. So keep posted and register to my newsletter at the bottom right of my blog! 

The five habits of inclusive companies: 
  1. THE FIRST HABIT OF INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE: FAIRNESS
  2. THE SECOND HABIT OF INCLUSION: OPENNESS
  3. THE THIRD HABIT OF INCLUSION: COOPERATION
  4. THE 4TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: SUPPORT
  5. THE 5TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: Employee empowerment
The working world has change a lot in the past century. More and more companies are doing their best to include diversity in order to benefit from the innovation it brings into companies. Have a look at the "Global Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce" from Forbes for more information on this topic. Developing inclusion in the workplace requires to develop new habits.

In fact, there are five habits of inclusion: fairness, openness, cooperativeness, support and empowerment. tweet this 


In this post I will explain how one can develop Fairness in a company. There is not a one solution fits all and my aim is to help you determine the best next step you can take.


A. A definition of fairness

Fairness is using the same rules for every employee. It is linked with the feeling of justice or injustice one may feel during its exchanges with other employees. If Fairness is a feeling how can you deal with it? There will always be people feeling that they are treated unfairly. Your best strategy is to anticipate in which areas unfairness may show up. In companies fairness can be evaluated in the following area:
  • Performance and talent management: Evaluation & Promotion, Pay & Reward...
  • Leadership and Communication: Conflict resolutions, access to information... 
  • Strategy & Change Management: Work / life Balance, Participation to Strategy & change decision, 
A company is fair as long as every employee knows that he / she will be treated based on the same rules and expectations as anyone else. It is the leadership responsibility to define fairness for itself but now you may wonder: How fair is my company with its employees? 

B. How fair is my company with its employees?

It is important to know where you stand before trying to change the way you manage your company. You may already have an answer to this question or be willing to assess your company fairness. Identifying the areas where there is  a need of clarification is vital. This knowledge will help you build your fairness program and communicate it.

You should evaluate how informed your employees are when it comes to your company fairness program or system. It is always possible to create a  fairness barometer to help you implement a regular evaluation.

C. How can I improve my company fairness?

This answer is always spedific to your company. There is only one company with a specific mix of behavior, employees, managers, culture and so one. I can only give you general advice and would be glad to help you go further, so do not hesitate to contact me. To be fair your company should:
  • Performance and talent management: Have clear rule about Evaluation & Promotion, Pay & Reward... Meaning everyone has access to evaluation, promotion, reward criteria and knows where he / she stands in the pay system. 
  • Leadership and Communication: In case of conflict the resolution is based on facts not feelings, Information is communicated to everyone concerned,  
  • Strategy & Change Management: The Work / life Balance rules applies to everyone, Employees are consulted when a new strategy or  change decision affects their work., 
You should take the time to ensure that the rules apply to everyone. It is possible to create a Fairness Manager Role or make managers responsible for the result of the fairness barometer. My main point is what ever you decide to do. You should decide to do it consciously because fairness in companies increase employee satisfaction which in return increases company success.

In my next post you will learn about the second habit of inclusion and how to implement it in your company. Since then have a great week!


The five habits of inclusive companies: 
  1. THE FIRST HABIT OF INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE: FAIRNESS
  2. THE SECOND HABIT OF INCLUSION: OPENNESS
  3. THE THIRD HABIT OF INCLUSION: COOPERATION
  4. THE 4TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: SUPPORT
  5. THE 5TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: Employee empowerment

Imagine if your managers, employees and service providers knew exactly what to do. They know exactly in which direction they are going and why they are doing it this way and not another one. This is so engaging that they deliver the best quality they can and try to solve issues they face while following the company rules. This would be the dream, wouldn't it be?

As a leader of a company or a team you need to clarify your mission and vision. The message you deliver to your employees influences the way they will perform their job. It is never easy to come up with a congruent message that represent what you visualize. This is maybe the hardest work you will ever have to do. You can read my article on How to come up with a vision? to start thinking about your 

A Corporate vision is like the direction you give when you sail. Tweet this
You have to find out what is that little (or big) something that only you can create. You being your company or team. The employees that are working for you achieve so much more with a clear idea of the direction they are walking toward. The clarity of the vision and mission should be strong enough that people come together to move mountains.



A clear vision and mission give you and your employees a reason to: 
  • wake up every morning 
  • go to work
  • show up in difficult time
  • give your / their best
  • cooperate
  • identify new opportunity
  • adapt to change
  • be creative
  • feel good about what you are doing
  • be proud 
So why wouldn't you work on your vision and mission? [comments welcome]
I lived in the UK, the USA, in Spain and now I live in Germany. I came to the realization that western Europe is not really into Change Management. It first started when I wanted to study change management not only as a methodology that one must follow but as a living science based on observations, studies, psychology and many other components. I have the impression that change is not understood as a positive energy that fosters creativity and innovation. Change is usually seen as something to avoid when possible or sabotage if on the way.

I worked in companies where simple change would have made a huge difference in the employees life and the company efficiency but they were simply avoided for fear of discomfort. I was even invited to use the word improvement in spite of change to relax the stressed out souls. People usually welcome an improvement and reject a change even if the improvement will mean a change. See the paradox... I now speak of improvements more often than change. Europe is made of old countries not only in their history but also with their aging population. We are very prone to stagnation and love the status quo even if we claim the opposite. We do not think we can change the world because defeatist as we are there is nothing to do. We do not see the doors of opportunity but instead all the risks and dangers that are waiting for us at the corner.

This does not mean that all western Europeans are wishy-washy. On the contrary, I believe that many people are willing to see change happening or even lead the change but blockades are on their way. Here are some reasons that can explain the situation:

  • Younger people lack of skills is seen an incrurable  
  • Older people are seen as unfit
  • Companies are rigid and do not tolerate risks
  • We are still comfortable with the present situation
  • We believe nothing can change 
  • We cannot prepare for a plan B because the world own us the plan A
  • Only one way communication in institutions
  • No cooperation at work

There are several things that need to evolve if we want to lead better companies and better lifes. Our level of consciousness has to change. We must look at those problems from another angle. We could for example:
  • Promote mentorship in companies by pairing experienced employees and newbies. Exchanging advice and ideas. 
  • Promote collaboration between departments so that solutions appear more easily 
  • Promote problem solving at all companies level
  • Promote 2-ways communication which will allow feedback and improvements
  • Promote servant leaders that care about their coworkers and see them beyond their employed work
  • Promote Coaching to help people overcome difficulties they may face during transitions
On thing I have learned over time is that only people who want to change take the steps necessary to improve their situation. Usually the discomfort was so strong that they needed to step away and realized that something was not working in their favor. Change, even when desired is a long and sometimes painful process. It takes realization, consciousness, desire to grow and letting things go while accepting what is. Changing is accepting to take a step in another direction and receiving the help of more experienced people to ease the transfer. Change is looking at oneself in the mirror, accepting our flaws, looking for our strengths to finally realize that our flaws are what make us unique and irreplaceable. There is a magic into change: it shows you who you are and how to become a better version of yourself. 
The way work is valued today is highly related with the historical evolutions and revolutions that we faced in the last centuries. Time is money and so is the time spent working financialy rewarded. The more hours you work the more you are supposed to get. An issue that I see growing is that some jobs do not require hours of work to be completed while bringing high value to the company. How do you reward the employees? People would get money for the time they spent which means in some cases less money. The system that we live in relies extensively on this status quo "Time is money". How many books and coaches are trying to help people with time management? This topic is a huge one. We need to see work in another way. One of the biggest problems that I see with the "Time is money" mentality is that people will procrastinate, not that they are really lazy but because hours spent not doing what you were supposed to do are paid. Yes, we pay people to sacrifice their time. All those discussions about how many hours per week people should work seem irrelevant to me. I see the following problems with the "time is money" concept: 
  • People working long hours because they are in a sense rewarded for it (financially, status, promotions...) 
  • Goodbye work-life balance 
  • Employees are not productive all the time
  • Companies suffer from procrastination
  • Lack of energy and creativity in companies
  • Laziness from employees
  • Creation of slow processes to justify ones existence

What alternative do we have? Some companies such as +Buffer offer flexible time and location for its employees. Imagine what would happened if you said to your employees "We trust you and offer you the opportunity to schedule your daily work as you wish as long as you provide the quality we expect and keep up with the deadlines". Well, your employees have all the reasons on earth to work quickly and effectively to deliver the final product. Here are some advantages I can think of. Write yours in the comment section. I will be happy to discuss about it with you:
  • Focus on quality of work 
  • Focus on effectiveness 
  • Focus on responsibilities
  • Focus on creativity and innovation 
  • Less time lost on procrastination
  • Employees benefit from more flexible time in their personal life (Millenials expectation)
  • Inefficiency is quickly spotted 
  • Employees know what is expected from them 
  • Employee have goals to achieve
  • Down time can be used to think creatively
"High Quality is the Standard"may not adequate to people who are just looking for a paycheck or maybe it will change them into more active and proactive employees trying to increase what they get from the company. One risk is that some employees may start working less hours and deliver low quality products or services. The company can then act and create incentives to encourage employee to aim for high quality.

The process to move from "Time is money" to "High quality is the Standard" cannot be done overnight. You need to take the time to develop a strategic plan for this change. You can start your reflection with the following tipps. 
  • List roles, tasks, responsibilities & final product/service.
  • Described what is expected from each employee 
  • Describe the rewards for exceeding expectations
  • Explain the reason why you want to change
  • Describe the benefit for the employees. 
  • Celebrate success 
  • Determine a time when all employees should be in the office 

The world has evolved. Employees desire more work flexibility to adapt to their changing lifes. The value is not anymore on money but on the quality time you as an employer can offer them. Reward and value quality. 



Last week I had a great discussion with consultants about the best and worst ways to promote employees into managing positions. We were a group of IT and Business consultants and could not agree more on the difficulty one can have to promote the right person at the right time and place in a company. The fact that we are not directly involved in the company's daily life and decisions gives us the hindsight that may be lacking them.

There are obviously different types of consulting and the one that I provide is based on the science of Organization Development also called OD. It focuses on a humanistic approach of corporation taking into account the psychology of the human beings when working alone and in groups. The idea being that if you understand how people work, think, react and behave you can bring improvements that will benefit the whole organization.

We all know from experience that sometimes the best way to solve an issue is to take some distance and reflect. Unfortunately, you may not have the time to do so when your work is really demanding. You have a business to run and taking the time to reflect on promotion may not make sense to you. This is one of the reasons why consultants are here. They are this "moment of calm", this pause you cannot have. They will analyze your system and raise your awareness on difficulties you are not conscious of.


When it comes to promoting managers, where are the problems you will face without even knowing it?


It is easy to expect organizations to have career development plans that they use to determine if a person should be promoted or not. They could use, for example, peers evaluation or analysis of past performance and so on. In fact, this is not usually the case because organizations keep an old fashion way to promote their employees. It neglects the new technologies and arrival from a diverse workforce. Technology can be used to perform test and analyses that would take days if not weeks when done by a person.

They use an old selection system that is not favorable to the company and its employees in the long run. Most of the time, career planning is not planned and people get promoted to become a manager because they have been working in the company for so many years, they are seen as experts and they provide very high quality work which is ok but not enough to get your company at the tip top of his capabilities.

The main problem with not planning career development or fooling yourself with a not so panned one is that sometimes, to not say most of the time, those newly promoted managers lack managerial qualities. Managerial qualities are not always hard skills that you can measure such as the quality of a work done. It also relates to soft skills that when nonexistent can drive to underperformance, resistance, and failure when managing a team.

This type of selection backfires when the person in question lacks the following soft skills:
  • dealing with complexity 
  • dealing with a variety of people 
  • capacity to set goals 
  • capacity to give constructive feedbacks 
  • team spirit 
  • fit with the company vision, mission and culture 

Another important side of career planning and promoting people that can be overseen is the company goals. The company aims should be reflected in the employees promoted. You cannot expect innovation to arise in your company if you promote managers that are not innovative. You should always promote the person that reflects your expectations regarding the company future. Your first homework is then to materialize your goals into traits, behavior, experiences that a person should have to lead the company and more especially his / her team in the direction you want to set.

Most of the time, to simplify selection only the emerging part of the iceberg is analyzed and used to select the best person to be promoted as manager. The immerged part of the iceberg deals with soft skills, the company’s goals that are also difficult to articulate when you do not know what to look for. This is a work that can be done with the support of a consultant that will help you determine what soft & hard skills are required to promote a person as well as determine your company goals and translate them into personality traits.


It is important for you to keep in mind that there are three important areas to consider when hiring or promoting a manager. They are summed up in the image below:




What would be the hardest part for you to implement the advice I give you here? Start the discussion with a comment or an email acgraber@gmail.com
One important and often forgotten factor in companies’ success is the engagement of their employees. I would even say that employee engagement is the smallest problem for too many companies. They just want profit, sales, more clients, and more exposure to the world. You cannot eat money but you can use it to improve your company and the life of the people working for it. Don’t forget those doing the job for you, because they won’t forget you when they take a decision regarding their carreer.

Engaged Employees are the one that make your company sky rocket. I already defined employee engagement in an earlier post. What is employee engagement in three words? I will give a quick reminder here for your convenience. It is when employees feel that the job their doing is meaningful and that their environment is safe. This fosters their availability to work better and to give their best. Most of the time, engaged employees feel a bound with their company and go for the extra mile when it is necessary and work hard during difficult times. An engaged employee thinks out of the box, innovates, and finds ways his / her organization can gain competitive advantage or go beyond what is expected from him / her. Now you ask, why should I care?

The Gallup Institute specialized in measuring & studying engagement found out that there is a correlation between high employee engagement and companies with higher success rate. Employee engagement fosters revenue, customer satisfaction, low employee rotation and in the long run the company’s success.

Now you may say: «My employees are happy to work for my company, so what is the matter?». Well, there is a difference between being happy and engaged. For example, you can be happy to work for a company that has a good pension system while being discourage to go to work in the morning because there is nothing making you feel valued and useful. You are just an ant among others trying to keep your position safe so that you can feed your family. Ok, this is maybe a bit of an exaggeration but you understand what I mean. Please, how do you know that your employees are happy? Is it your own feeling about it or the result of a survey? Second, you are probably referring to job satisfaction when you say they are happy. You are satisfied by the conditions you have related to your contract but you are engaged by the mission, the atmosphere and the company human capital management. 
Employees can totally be satisfied but not engaged in their work which is usually the case. Looking at the different companies I had the chance to work. I could hardly see engaged employees. The one that were engaged believed in the mission of their company and had usually great leaders giving them a sense of safety, mission and encouraged people to be “present” during work.

The other trick is that you will never see an engaged employee being unhappy at work. This is probably why there is a big confusion between engagement and satisfaction.

The worst case scenario is when your employees are unhappy. This happens everywhere in small and big companies. People play the game of “I am alright, everything is alright but please do not talk about work…” They may be unhappy because their management is not being clear during a change, they do not have a clue of the direction the company or team is heading to. They have no idea what is expected from them. They try they best to satisfy their boss never knowing if it is good enough because they have no way to measure it. So if you want to start an engagement project in your company you need to clarify few points:



All those point require a time for reflection and can be quite painful as you realize that what you thought was working well is in fact a mess. You have to become a learner, a person who looks straight at the problem and ask: What can we do better? What works? What opportunities do I have?
Organization development is first a self-development path for leaders. You cannot bring change if you are not yourself ready to change!

I read a meta analysis from « The leadership Quarterly » about How bad are the effects of bad Leadership? A meta-analysis of destructive leadership and its outcomes. The authors focused on the behavior of the leader directed toward its followers. They defined bad leadership in order to narrow down their meta-analysis. Some behavior are that they listed are: abusive supervision, destructive leadership, toxic leadership and petty tyranny. Bad leadership can be perceived by the followers or sensed as the intent of the leader to negatively or positively affect their followers by their actions. A leader making a favor to one of its follower can be seen as a negative intent for those not receiving it. Violence is also mentioned as it can be verbal and physical. We have to keep in mind that physical violence may not happen so often in the work place (at least I hope). Bad leadership in this study is also defined as a repetitive behavior  over a long period of time. He behavior cannot be defined as bad as long as the leader does not constantly use this behavior.
The most cited leadership behavior in all studies was abusive supervision but the ones in the list below were also mentioned. They were used to determine if there is a link between bad leadership behavior and the behavior of followers.
List of bad leadership behavior:



Such behaviors when repetitive are not acceptable because we assume that they undermine the followers capacity to focus on delivering high quality services or products. They should be respected. The meta analysis proved that this assumption was right. Bad leadership leads followers to perfom at a lower level. They show the following reactions:



All those behaviors reduce productivity because the employees are not focusing on performing their job but on “surviving” , trying to avoid implication or trying to go away. All that if not handled in time can damage your company existence. The question should not be “why are those employees results so bad?” but more “what are we doing wrong as managers?”
Is there in your company a bossy boss causing so much trouble that the turn over, sick days and so on are so high that you wonder if you will get some work done? If yes, what should you do? Your bossy boss is probably not that bad technically. Otherwise, he would not have been promoted. He may not know that his behavior impacts the team that much. He may even think that he is the best boss ever because people respect him. He just does not see that people fear him more than respect him.
One good way to deal with bossy boss is to evaluate them to understand what kind of behavior they express the most. Here is why 360 Degree test exist. It is to make people aware of their impact and how they are perceived. It helps them to focus on what they could do better not what they did wrong. Amazingly we prefer to look at the glass half full than half empty when we look at our dark side.
Bad leadership is damaging companies by diminishing the most precious capital they have, their employees. It impacts the employees working directly under the leader behaving badly. If you are still not convinced that bad leadership behavior is a serious subject to deal with. I invite you to think of a time in your life when someone used his higher position with the apparent intent to harm you. What was your first thought? How did you react? I am pretty sure you will remember experiencing some of the listed reaction above. Do not tell me now, that this did not impact the way you worked. That you were invincible. Maybe you even left the company because of this person. Bad leadership behavior is too important and impactful to be ignored.
Bad leadership behavior should be identified and dealt with. There are ways to positively impact a leader so that he learns other behavior to achieve the goals he / she has set for himself / herself. It always comes back to the main question:”How do we help people change?” Here is one way (out of the many) to help people change a behavior:



You may face some of the following resistance:
  • Self depreciation: I cannot change, I am just too bad
  • Habits: I have always done it this way!
  • Fear of the unknown: What if I do not recognize myself in the end?
  • No urgency to change: Why change things are not so bad as you say

People usually change when the pain is too strong. This happen in time of crisis when the bossy boss faces a law suit, loses his job, do not get the promotion he was supposed to get.
Theory give the feeling that you can change anything but my impression is more that you can only helps someone to change when he / she is ready.