Over the centuries we have become addicted to growth through struggle. Pain is often perceived as a necessary stimulus to growth where individuals adopt the Friedrich Nietzsche view “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Adversity is worn like a badge of honour because people often call on their inner resources to strengthen their resolve. Resilience is now viewed as an essential component for corporate success. Yet individuals are still resistant to change within a corporate context because they feel in touch with fear. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs first introduced in 1943 our basic needs are for survival closely followed by safety and security.
Organisations going through change initiatives often unwittingly perpetuate a climate of fear and uncertainty. Where jobs may be at risk and more demands and pressures are being placed on performance and productivity this can create a choking effect on their performance. Professor Willi Railo, University of Oslow who worked closely with Sven-Goran Eriksson, Manager of England Football team in 2002 states that fear of failure is a crippling form of anxiety, a negative burden of expectation where people become inhibited, take fewer risks and consequently underachieve.
Consequently, in today’s tough economic environment where organisations and the workforce are being tasked to achieve more with less resources becomes unrealistic whilst the workforce feel in fear of the jobs and worried about the future. Despite competent and robust external influences such as the training and development of people, relationships, organisational culture, processes, leadership teams, job roles and responsibilities it is still difficult to penetrate through an individual’s resistance to growth.
Breaking through this barrier to change and resistance to growth can only be achieved by working with an individual’s own internal influences. To put it in a nutshell, the more positive an individual’s attitude, the thinner the layer of their resistance. A negative attitude automatically strengthens the resistance so it becomes an impenetrable wall of protection.
The biggest impact on attitude is based on 5 key areas that coincidentally are the same attributes that determine an individual’s level of charisma:
1. Self-Esteem – the extent to which we see ourselves as a valued, important and respected member of the workforce. The benefits to an organisation of having individuals with high self esteem is confidence, authenticity and mutual trust and respect.
2. Vision – the extent to which we see our future and can align that future to the corporate vision. The benefits to an organisation is that individuals feel inspired and compelled towards their organisational goals.
3. Sensory Awareness – the extent to which we can communicate with our hearts so we feel an emotional connection with the organisation. The benefits to an organisation is that individuals build stronger, loyal and long- term relationships with peers, internal and external customers.
4. Driving Force – the extent to which our work holds personal meaning so we feel enthusiastic and dynamic in pursuing our personal and corporate vision. The benefits to an organisation is that individuals feel highly motivated and possess greater resilience to setbacks.
5. Energy – the culmination of the first four internal influences will affect the intensity, quality and balance of an individual’s energy. The benefits of having a high energy workforce include high performance, improved productivity, higher engagement, reduced stress and absenteeism.
People with a high positive attitude are people with high levels of balanced energy. People with a negative attitude often feel drained, depressed and apathetic leading to illness.
In 1997 Cranfield Business School authored a white paper – Assessing Energy within Organisations that explored the role that energy of employees is recognised as an important factor in their performance and in maximising their overall contribution to the organisation. Yet 15 years later, organisations have failed to grasp and harness the concept of energy on powering their employees productivity.
Every individual has the potential to develop more charisma, a state that optimises their flow of energy, boosting their wellbeing and enhancing their performance. When people feel in harmony with themselves they exude high levels of energy that impacts on those around them.
Organisations who look at the workforce’s internal influences will be rewarded by high levels of engagement, people working with their heart and soul and double-digit growth that can be sustained year on year.
Yet the old rigid dogma in organisational thought leadership will continue to perceive energy, charisma and workforce harmony as spiritual mumbo jumbo until someone can present irrefutable proof that workforce attitudes can be changed in an instant.