Does Your Boss Care About You?
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?
What is Unconditional Positive Regard? ~ Kendra Cherry