Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Do Leaders Really Care About Their Employees?

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Does your CEO - and your entire leadership team - really care about their employees?

I had another blog post in the hopper for this week, but when this article came across my desk, followed by a phone conversation with Bob Chapman, I knew I needed to write something different, something that is top of mind for me now - and often - as I work with my clients.

The article?

"Beyond Nice,", which you can find in Conscious Company Magazine's Spring 2018 issue - or just click the article name to download the PDF. It features Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, and his approach to leadership that we can/should all learn from. Sooner rather than later.

I've written about Bob Chapman several times in the past, starting with a 2012 post about his TEDxScottAFB Talk:

Truly Human Leadership - Everyone Matters
Define Your Employee-Centric Culture
Employee Engagement Strategy? Nay! Leadership Strategy
A Customer Experience Carol
"Be Positive" is Not a Strategy
We Have a Crisis in Leadership

I have followed Bob since that first post back in 2012, and I've spoken to him twice since then. He's a very genuine and caring person, and I love how he's trying to shift the leadership paradigm. And, clearly, I believe he's on to something: we have a crisis in leadership.

Look at some of the stats:

- 88% of employees in the US feel they work for a company that doesn't care about them
- 75% of employees are disengaged
- 67% of employees don't trust their leaders
- 50% of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs
- 7% of people in one survey said they'd been hospitalized due to workplace stress
- 120,000 deaths due to workplace stress every year


Each one on its own is bad; all of them combined are insane. The problem: leaders don't care about their employees; instead, employees are viewed as a cog in the wheel to their success. Leaders drive to growth, to the numbers, and forget about the needs and the lives of the employees who help them get there.

Bob notes that...
We measure success all wrong in this country. Many people have made millions, billions of dollars, who have incredibly broken personal lives. Would we view those people as successful?
We are going to measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.
Imagine the employee experience if that was the case, if leaders cared about employees, their families, and their well-being! And measured success by how they touched their employees' lives! A little humanity and humaneness would go a long way.

How do leaders turn things around? First and foremost, it's a choice. Everything you do in your life, as a human, as a leader, is a choice. Choose to lead differently. Choose to align with the rest of the leadership team and the goals of the business. Choose to care.
  • Leaders must choose to put their employees' well-being ahead of all other goals and outcomes. It starts with the CEO and the executive team. The choice is theirs. 
  • Establish core values and guiding principles that set the tone for the company culture, a culture that puts people first. 
  • Create an environment based on trust, respect, and caring.
  • Adopt a servant leader mentality.
  • Take a look at the checklist in the article; it provides a dozen essential actions that leaders must take. Put a check next to those you already do, and look inward for the ones that you don't.
The bottom line is this: when leaders take care of their people, their people take care of the business.

When you look at somebody as somebody’s precious child that you have a chance to impact, it profoundly changes the way you view people. They are no longer a function for your success. -Bob Chapman


  1. Excellent post Annette! I couldn’t agree more that "we have a crisis in leadership" and “We need to measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.”
    Thanks for posting the references to your earlier posts about Bob Chapman and his Tedx Talk. I can’t believe that I hadn’t seen them or Bob's Tedx earlier. I love it and believe every leader should see it!
    As he spoke about his company and people, I then remembered that I first read about him two months ago in the book “Leading with Happiness” from Alexander Kjerulf.
    This is the extract that most touched me: “When I interviewed him for this book, he put it very clearly: Leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you. It starts with our fundamental responsibility for the lives of people who we have the privilege of leading. Everybody wants to know that who they are and what they do matters. And when you genuinely show them that you care, it profoundly affects their lives. Chapman believes that leading someone is a privilege that carries with it a responsibility to lead them well, and when we do that, we can profoundly affect their lives for the better. [..] happiness is not only an integral part of leading but should be the ultimate goal of leadership.”

    I believe that we need a major paradigm shift in the way we think about businesses, and in the way we operate and we measure within companies. Few companies and leaders - like you, Jeanne Bliss, Bob Chapman, Alexander Kjeurf, … - are already getting it and taking the right actions, but not enough. I have written about my point of view in this post and spoke about my vision for an “Happiness Driven Growth” measured through “Happiness Contribution” (the way we touch the lives of people!) in this Tedx talk I would be honoured if you watch it and would like to exchange thoughts about it.

    Smiling regards

    1. Thanks, Rosaria! I agree that every leader should see Bob's TEDx and read his book. Lots to learn and do. I'll have to find the Leading with Happiness book... and will definitely watch your TEDx! Thanks for sharing that.