By Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer
Are you ready for this presidential election to be over? I think we all are at this point, from a personal point of view.
How about your organization? Is it ready for the election to be over?
How has this campaign affected your company culture, thus far? Yes, I’m going there. This isn’t a political rant and has nothing to do with the candidates specifically. Nor am I talking about the obvious challenges of tax implications and health insurance challenges.
If you’re a leader within your company, I would recommend giving some thought to the not-so-obvious realities that could be hurting morale and productivity – Fear with a capital F. Fear of not having human, hierarchical needs met. And fear makes a lot of people very “ugly”.
What Do “Needs” Got To Do With It?
If you’re not familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there are five fundamental human needs for motivating people. In order of importance they are: 1) Physical needs, 2) Safety, 3) Love/Belonging, 4) Esteem and 5) Self-Actualization.
If these needs are missing, people won’t perform to their fullest potential.
This election, in my opinion, has jeopardized the needs of Safety and Love/Belonging the most.
Your coworkers need to feel safe personally and financially, meaning that they feel safe about their jobs and health. Maslow also says that they also need to feel like they are loved and belong to a group.
So, if your work environment and culture doesn’t feel safe, where people feel they belong, you’ll have (or have) problems.
The Election Factor
It’s hard enough sustaining and fostering a healthy company culture in the best of times, under the best leadership, with the happiest employees. An election that threatens hierarchical needs inevitably affects your business because fear creates reactionary behaviors.
Are you paying attention? What are you doing to monitor and possibly mediate to keep your team healthy through this?
You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t noticed how mean people have gotten in the media and on SOCIAL media. There’s bullying going on. “Friends” are unfriending their “friends” on Facebook. And way too much time is being spent “licking wounds” when someone offends or gets offended. In general, most people are afraid to share their opinions, thoughts and memes in fear of being attacked or polarized.
It’s not just the fear of polarization within a group. It’s the raw emotional fear of “what will happen to me after this election?” It’s the fear of the unknown that threatens the feelings of safety and basic physical needs of food, shelter and health, the fear of war and the fear of having leaders we don’t trust in charge of our future and our lives. These underlying fears are driving people today to make reactionary decisions and have emotional outbursts in their personal lives and this carries over into their jobs and your business.
And if it’s happening in social media, it’s probably happening at a tamer level in your environment. With the polls showing that the votes are split almost equally in half, that means half of your co-workers and employees disagree with each other. Even if this “disagreement” is silent, it creates tension.
You may not be seeing this up front and personal every day because you’re busy doing bigger picture things, but you need to pay attention and be ready to pivot (a popular political word). And as election day nears, anxiety levels will continue to escalate. Similar to how consumer confidence declines during an election, employee confidence can also decline and stall your business.
How are you managing this right now to meet employee needs and calm fears?
Are you ready for the emotional reactions that will manifest AFTER the election?
With only a week to go before we elect a new POTUS, take time to take care of the needs of your culture.
If you’re feeling stuck, it’s time to pivot!
P.S. Need help with pivoting from employee plateau to higher performance and profits? Now is the time to strategize your plan for 2017. We can help you pivot with THIS PLAN. Or email GetResults@Pivot10results.com.
ABOUT THE POST AUTHOR
Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer, knows how to pivot to profits from problems and find joy through the process. Her philosophy is that performance pays and people need to be trained to perform on the stage of business to achieve results.
Gina successfully pivoted from her entertainment company Carolina Improv Company to spinning off Pivot10 Results, a strategic training and consulting firm that helps business teams to quickly adapt their communications and engagement skills in leadership, customer and sales to achieve results by providing them experiential learning tools and strategies.