Does Your Boss Care About You?

Does Your Boss Care About You?

Care

More specifically, does your boss, or company as a whole, care about your state of mind? About your levels of motivation and engagement?

I can only assume, from both personal experiences and from numerous recent studies into the high levels of disengagement and demotivation of employees in businesses, that the answer is generally a resounding “No!”.

Abdication, Absolution and Blame

I’ve often felt that organisations I’ve worked with don’t give a damn about their folks’ state of mind – mine included. Moreover, it seems a widespread condition to regard an employee’s motivation and level of engagement as something each employee is entirely responsible for, on their own. And thus that disengaged employees are themselves to blame for their state of disengagement. With the likely and direct remedy of simply letting them go (firing them or, more passively – and more commonly – waiting until they get so pissed-off that they leave of their own accord).

Put another way, I have seen many bosses say, implicitly, “If so-and-so can’t find the passion | enthusiasm | courage | whatever to buck themselves up and get with the programme, then they can just bloody well sod off.”

It’s as if the mere notion of paying people for working absolves the organisation, and its managers, of any and all responsibilities for their folks’ state of mind.

It seems much like blaming poor people for their poverty, or “stupid” people for their stupidity. This is not the Way of the Psychotherapist.

And given this prevailing, and so often unstated dynamic, how much more difficult is it for folks to bring up the issue? I mean, it’s a bit like admitting to mental health problems, isn’t it? How much is admitting to being demotivated, in a scenario where you can reasonably be expected to be held entirely responsible, a bit like saying to your boss “Hey, I’m a looney! Can you or the company help me with that?”.

The Psychotherapist’s Way

From my perspective, I’ve long believed that folks’ state of mind is around 95% a product of the “system” (the nature of their job/role/work, including the many social relationships therein). And when in “management” or “leadership” positions, I’ve always felt it my responsibility to both find out how folks are feeling (their general state of mind) and to do what I can to change the system to help improve that.

I don’t see many (some, exceptional, people, but not many) in similar positions doing this. Maybe that’s one reason (amongst many) that I have such a downer on the whole notion of management and leadership. At least in fellowship, we might more reasonably expect folks to look out for each other, care about each other’s state of mind, and work together on things that might make a positive difference?

How do you feel about all this? What would you like to have happen at your workplace to help you with your state of mind? Have you asked or otherwise raised the subject yet?

– Bob

Further Reading

What is Unconditional Positive Regard? ~ Kendra Cherry

8 comments
  1. Give me Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, or give me death!
    Cold dead hands etc.

    Other than that, I couldn’t give a monkeys if they expressed an interest or not. They design the architecture of the work, the system, and we are in it and part of it, they need to understand the psychological implications of all that. As in Deming’s system of profound knowledge, psychology! It is how people work, you can’t NOT know how your primary raw material works. All the stuff is out there ready to be read and learned. Doesn’t take much other than curiosity and a willingness to learn.

    • Thanks for joining the conversation. Very much agree with your closing four sentences. But feel very uneasy about the “Us vs Them” implicit in some other of your words here. Your view?

      – Bob

      • I’m uneasy too, but using the rule of the Deaf Philosopher, if I can only see what managers/leaders do rather than hear what they say they do, then we/them it very much is. In my experience, rather than as global sweeping statement.

      • Agreed. And don’t get me wrong. I see lots of – almost ubiquitous – Us vs Them’ing going on. I just wish it were otherwise, and try to avoid exacerbating it further.

        – Bob

  2. I’ve often thought that a good indicator of the ‘health’ of an organisation is the happiness of employees (at all levels) and that a simple weekly question that everyone answers, measuring happiness would correlate with output/flow etc. I think if we were to measure that (in addition to customer value) instead of profit and costs the organisation would be much more healthy.

  3. edster said:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! To think about how much wasted talent is out there because of crass management behaviours makes me very sad, for the individual and society at large. The only model I can think of to rationalise such inefficient strategies is the power structure, as per Jeffery Pfeffer’s “Power: why some people have it” and his other works.

  4. john said:

    Employers really do not care
    Employees are basically wage slaves and are being used so the owners can make more profit
    Being a employee means being talked down to like a child basically
    It sucks to be a employee plain and simple
    Avoid it at all costs
    Its a humiliating experience
    Of course employees would be disengaged
    They are not contributing to their own dreams and are not building their own brand but building someone elses brand and profit
    Your just getting the leftover crumbs

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