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Have you left your employees better than when you hired them?

Oh, a picture really does speak a thousand words.  This painting from Richard Sargant (1954) demonstrates the power and ethical responsibility that leaders bring to the organization.   Likewise, the Boy Scouts have a long-held mantra, “leave the space in a better condition then how you found it.”   While this primarily applies to a physical space, it is an important reminder that as people, we have an obligation to ensure that others are in a better place mentally, emotionally, and physically because of our interactions. 


These exchanges may take place in the workplace, but they transfer more broadly into the community overall.  Consider how these interactions impact not only our employees and their families, but how those transfer to the larger community.  Will our exchange contribute to negative behaviors or positive ones – lifting up everyone as we go about our day-to-day activities of life or perpetuating pain and frustration.   


Consider the following scenarios:

  • I had a negative exchange with my manager today. I am feeling hurt, frustrated, and anxious.  In my sour mood, I left my grocery cart in the parking lot, which later scratched someone’s car.

  • I have a fantastic caring leader who assured me that despite a miss-step, all is well and took time to reassure my role.  While happily leaving the grocery store and returning my cart, another customer eagerly took it from me. 


Employee engagement is one is the easiest and most important aspects of organizational leadership, and an important contributor to any mutual exchange that extends well beyond the organizational walls.  While the formal leaders of any organization are the keepers of culture, taking care of one another does not have to be limited to them.  We all have the capacity to brighten the day of our colleagues through positive interactions.  Best of all being friendly, open, and giving is completely free, it costs nothing!  At the end of the day, we can all ask ourselves a simple question: have we left people in a better place? 

Coming soon!  Engaging your employees:

12 strategic activities to drive your organization’s culture and commitment.

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