A new global business paradigm is emerging. The era of arrogant bosses who intimidate workers and care solely about profit at the expense of their employees is going the way of the dinosaur.
The business world now needs leaders who are adept at transforming complexity into simplicity and chaos into efficiency. Leaders who can deliver clear direction, support and guidance while facing an impending crisis or smack in the middle of. Leaders who create environments based on principle, ethics and trust.
Innovative and thoughtful leaders who understand how communication, cooperation, listening and encouraged self-expression results in increased productivity, fewer mistakes, better teamwork and a positive return on their investment.
Growing Up Emotionally
Emotional maturity is part of the 21st-century business model. A huge part of lowering stress is simply learning how to be calm and remain calm under challenging circumstances.
It’s common knowledge that when people are emotionally upset they cannot think clearly, concentrate, remember, learn or make good decisions. When a person is emotionally calm, their stress level is reduced, which results in many benefits — a few being improved health, focus, concentration and communication.
In business, this translates to higher levels of engagement, productivity, creativity and innovation. Morale is increased and, more often than not, the bottom line. In order to achieve these benefits, companies are investing in leadership training, which focuses on the allocation and development of human capital.
Leading with Heart, Empathy and Awareness
For over 20 years, the Institute of HeartMath has been a global leader in stress-management research, offering both technology and training to help people harness the power of their heart rhythms in order to manage emotions.
Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends 2010, says, “HeartMath is a simple but highly sophisticated technique that melts stress and grows performance through the experience of positive emotions such as appreciation and caring.”
Here are a few results that companies have received from HeartMath:
» The customer service unit of a Fortune 500 tech firm cut stress by 50 percent and improved customer listening by 33 percent.
» A health-care firm reduced turnover by 50 percent, raised customer satisfaction by 27 percent and saved $1.5 million in two years.
Tuning Up for Success
More and more companies today are making the overall well-being of their employees a priority. The Huffington Post has two nap rooms for employees that are “perpetually booked,” according to Arianna Huffington. “Sleep is a leadership tool. It’s a performance enhancement tool.”
Some companies offer meditation seminars, mindfulness workshops, yoga classes, free nutritional meals and community service work hours. Others have in-house gyms or provide complimentary gym memberships.
A Wake-up Call
Even though there is a growing awareness of the benefits of providing a quality work experience for employees, we still have a long way to go.
The 2012 Global Workforce Study found that out of 32,000 full-time workers, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) are not highly engaged in work. The study notes “that’s not surprising considering workers have been doing more with less and for less, for over half a decade.”
Other key findings from the survey:
» Stress and anxiety about the future are common.
» Security is taking precedence over almost everything.
» Attracting employees is almost entirely about security.
» Retaining employees has more to do with the quality of the work experience.
» Employees have doubts about the level of interest and support from senior leaders.
The Challenge of the 21st-Century Workplace
We are at a critical crossroad. Businesses practicing 20th-century methods are antiquated and contributing to high stress levels and burnout. Fortunately, we do have
the awareness, ability, technology and compassion to create work cultures that offer professional fulfillment and improve the quality of life for all. The first executive challenge at hand is simply to decide to.