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For decades I have seen and herd both sides of this coin complain about the other and one of the biggest challenges is that so many businesses have not created an environment, or culture, that promotes and allows the employees to have a voice without the fear of being ridiculed and or fired. I've personally watched and have been involved with other leadership and bosses while a teammate brought a concern to the table and in the end because it wasn't something that the leadership and or boss agreed with did it end as I just explained. The teammate leaves not feeling validated.
In a leadership position I have spoke on the behalf of hundreds of employees (teammates) encouraging them to speak to the boss man or lady about their concerns with very few actually stepping to the plate and taking this action.
Why is this?
I truly believe the reason stems from the five main elements that have the largest influence when it comes to how society is shaped to operate. In their traditional sense these five elements have conditioned the masses to not ask questions and to just do what we are told.
1. Parents = Do as you are told not as I do.
2. Religion = Never question your God or your priest.
3. School = You don't question or challenge teachers because they are smarter than you.
4. Military = Never question your drill sergeant nor any other higher ranking officer.
5. Employer = Do as you're told because I am the boss and you work for me.
Back in the Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie days where you were literally just a number, a body to produce wealth and power for those who employed you.
Over the years I have spoke with so many business owners, managers, and leaders who feel that they are approachable and who believe they promote an open door policy. Unfortunately for them this was't as true as they seemed to believe and I only know this because of my time in a leadership positions coupled with my intense studies of effective leadership. I made it a point to connect with those on the ground level because that is the main way of building trust and rapport and because I was able to connect with just about every teammate at any business I was ever engaged with I herd what and how they would talk and complain about the company, the management, leadership, and or the bosses. I also will never forget where I came from, which was on the ground level and because of this it has made it 10x easier to build rapport with those who work on the ground level.
One business owner I spoke recently, claims that they tell their employees all the time that they can talk to them about anything and or come to them with questions and or concerns. I tried to explain to this business owner that engaging your team is more than just telling them that they can come to you whenever they need.
If you really want to create a culture that promotes an open door policy than you will have to work at it and implement more than just words because the four elements that shape society have ingrained the masses so well it is literally in our DNA. In sort, most people are afraid to approach their boss or the leadership because they are afraid of being fired and also because the traditional American school system does not teach us how to effectively and efficiently communicate with each other.
Now, things have SLOWLY changed but this concept is still very strong and ever present in and throughout all four elements to date.