Here is what I wrote in response to the question above:
Mary, you have hit a hot button for me on this.
Even though humans create performance, I often hear mangers talk about the humans on their teams as production machines, there to produce outcomes regardless of how they feel. If our team members come to us broken and damaged by the communities within which they have developed, and they do, why would we argue that it is inconvenient or not our role to create interactions that help them heal and become productive and healthy members of our enterprises? This is similar to managers that continuously attack team members as lazy or non-committed. I often hear, “I come to work and do not need to be rewarded and nurtured, therefore why should I do it for others?” My simple answer is because that is what you get paid to do as a leader. I see this attitude as a lack of accountability. I can hear it now, “The reason that I have poor performance, high attrition, high absenteeism, poor relations with my team members is because they have no work ethic and are not committed like I am. If recruiting would just hire quality team members I could be successful”
I ask a very hard question of the leaders that I serve and develop, “Who are you being that you are getting the results that you are getting?” If you do not like the results that you are getting, don’t blame your team and their unreasonable demands and poor work ethic, look to yourself and ask yourself what you are doing to create these results. High performance people create high performance enterprises. We do not lead robots. Humans have messy lives, emotions, relationships, and until we accept that this as so, we are going to pretend that this reality does not exist and drive performance down and team members out of our enterprises and destroy our ability to create loyal relationships with our customers. Of course we should be working with every individual in our enterprises to coach and develop them, and create the respectful relationships necessary for them to grow, feel productive, feel like they can be successful, and produce world class results for our enterprises and for the customers served.
The evidence for this? I have 44 teams within our building all focused on creating loyalty relationships with our customers. Without exception, those supervisors in our site that fully understand the Ying Yang of high performance, that relationship and performance improvement are inextricably combined, and care for and develop strong trust and rapport with their teams and coach them to high performance, have the lowest attrition and absenteeism in the site, have the highest morale on the site, and also have the highest performance on the site. They always reach out and nurture and develop their team members.
When team members feel disenfranchised, unconnected, uncared for, undeveloped, and feel like they cannot be successful in their role, they will fail, the team will fail, the manager will fail, and the company will fail. In the end the customer is the one who suffers. Talented leaders reach out and do what the rest of the managers out there will not do; they create high performance humans, who in turn create high performance for our enterprises and the customers that they serve.
To me the question posed is reactive vs. proactive. “Do people therefore project onto their organizations they work in an expectation that their employer will fulfill all their missing pieces?” A proactive approach is to believe that the organization should be proactively seeking to serve its employees. The organization should be seeking ways to create healthy, loyal, and committed team members rather than waiting for them to demand what they need. It becomes an ownership vs. victim mentality. I as a leader I own my role in creating high performance relationships and team members. I do not sit around complaining that these horrible team members are expecting way too much of me. This is a mentality that will get one nowhere fast.
Have wonderful conversations with your team members,