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Creating a Healthy Work Culture Requires Empathy and Vulnerability, Says Utah Executive Coach

(ABC4) – In case you haven’t heard, the Great Resignation is a real thing in America and can have reverberating effects in the modern workplace.

The latest data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics from November 2021 shows that of the 6.3 terminations this month, 4.5 million were voluntary employee decisions.

They stopped, and they continue to stop now more than ever.

According to Dean Baker, who co-founded the Center for Economic Policy and Research at the University of Utah, one of the main reasons for the mass exodus of employees is the confidence that they will find better jobs elsewhere.

“The unemployment rate has come down much faster than most people expected,” he says, referring to the rebound in the US economy after the pandemic hit. So that means people have a choice.

Rich Baron, workplace expert and executive coach at the Kaysville office of Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching (ILEC), thinks this could be a defining time for American workers. Not only can they now feel the freedom to leave for a better paying job, but they can also choose the kind of culture that will make them stay.

The latter, he says, is much more important.

“Everyone is paying higher salaries,” Baron tells ABC4.com. Now, the top salary is relatively easy to find. What’s not easy to find is a company that truly has a culture of inclusion and a culture of engagement, where everyone in the organization is set up to succeed.

One of his observations, particularly regarding a younger workforce, is that those with strong leadership and empathy skills will have the opportunity to move up quickly in an organization. For a generation of tech-savvy, wide-eyed people who may be at the start of their careers, learning how to be an effective leader will be in high demand.

“What they’re looking for are the soft skills: accountability, leadership, creativity, problem-solving skills. And when we talk about those skills, those are actually the hardest skills to find,” says Baron. “But those are the skills that people want to develop. They want to develop these skills in order to not only advance themselves, but also help the organization. »

The old days of a dictatorial leadership attitude are dead and gone, says Baron. The idea of ​​a leader who rules his kingdom of work with an iron fist, repressing with a hard and rigid approach is neither realistic nor effective these days. What really matters now, not only for employees, but also for employers, is to be flexible, supportive and understanding.

It’s a lesson that Apple founder Steve Jobs learned towards the end of his life, mindful of his personal legacy and the legacy he would leave for his company. One of the key takeaways that ILEC founder John Mattone left Jobs with was the power of vulnerability.

This can be a difficult thing for many to master, Baron says.

“You have to step out of your own comfort zone and be able to be vulnerable to learn not only what your strengths and weaknesses are, but also how to retrieve that information from the people around you,” he says. “And I’m not talking about being so vulnerable that you lose your confidence – to be vulnerable is to be open to change.”

This, along with changing the mindset from a sense of entitlement to duty, can be essential to creating a culture where people would want to work in the modern era.

To borrow a phrase from one of Apple’s best-known marketing campaigns under Jobs, you have to think differently, Baron says.

“When you talk about thinking differently and thinking big, Steve’s philosophy was to get out of your comfort zone and disrupt yourself, change yourself and not be in that comfort zone, which is really a killer. jobs and it’s a career killer.”

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion