Employee Satisfaction: 10 Signs You Aren’t the CEO You Think You Are

By Glen Hellman

Employee Satisfaction: 10 Signs You Aren't the CEO You Think You AreIf leaders could only see ourselves through the eyes of others, we might understand why a recent Conference Board study found that less than half of U.S. workers are happy with their jobs. It’s easy to see the faults of others and difficult to confront our own. So here’s a list of 10 signs that you just may have some work to do in the employee satisfaction arena.

10 Signs You Aren’t the CEO You Think You Are

1. You know who’s buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Hey, the best CEOs don’t have all the answers — they have all the questions. If you think you know everything, then know this: You are about to be smacked in the face with reality.

2. Everyone around you agrees with you — or, just maybe, you created an environment where dissenters have given up investing the energy required to argue their opinions with Captain Bligh.

3. You have an open-door policy — and no one walks in the door.

4. You know what your employees think — because you tell them what they think all the time. Do you truly listen to your employees?

5. You believe you’ve done your job as a leader because you’ve created and communicated your Dunder Mifflin-like company mission statement to the employees. Your mission statement is:

To be one of the top firms producing mission critical, scaleable, industry thought leaders, making some of the best products in the industry and achieving superior results for our customers while respecting the needs of our stakeholders.

6. You believe that your employees are motivated by a higher purpose called corporate profits. Employees are most highly motivated when they believe they are working for a higher purpose — and that purpose is not to make you rich.

For instance, if your company developed farming products, the purpose would be eliminating hunger. Google’s original mission was “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Now that’s a reason to get out of bed early and work late.

7. You hear yourself say, “We’ve always done it this way, and we aren’t changing.” Congratulations — Confucius was talking about you when he wrote, “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” Don’t even think about tweeting, because you just might be correct when you said that Internet thing is probably a passing fad.

8. You know that things aren’t going well and you know whose fault it is … everybody’s except yours. Good leaders know that every failure is a failure of their own making and every success is due to the hard work of others.

9. Your word is only worth the paper on which it is written. Contracts have value, they have a place, but if your word ain’t your word, if you can’t trust the boss, then you’ll get the honest hard day’s work from your people that you deserve.

10. Words speak louder than actions. It’s not what you say as much as what you do. Words are cheap. Lead from the front and model the behavior you expect of others.

Glen Hellman is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and has worked for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He’s a principal at Driven Forward, board member at The University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, a Vistage coach and a mentor at the Founder Institute. You can e-mail Hellman at glen@drivenforward.com.

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