One major drain of emotional energy often is ignored by leaders, however. That is the presence of sarcasm and cynicism in your organization. Both stem from negative thoughts and perceptions among team members that are then communicated and bounced around in the workplace.
Both cynicism and sarcasm steal energy that could be used for positive, creative, and productive activities. They are like holes in the wall of your office that waste the electricity used to heat or cool your office space. And they are fueled by a lack of trust of the motives of management and supervisors.
Employees Feeling Unvalued
One of the biggest barriers to positive workplace relationships is when team members don’t feel valued by their supervisor or colleagues. While a majority of companies have some form of an employee recognition program, these activities aren’t working.
We have found that common characteristics of most employee recognition programs actually undermine the perceived genuineness of the recognition given. These include the recognition is:
When employees do not believe that others are genuine in their communication of appreciation, cynicism and sarcasm follow. They don’t trust others’ motives (“They just do this to ‘look good’). Unfortunately, this can lead to an overall negative mindset where employees begin to question the motives of management and supervisors in multiple areas.
Obviously, when a lack of trust and negativity are present — collaboration and creativity grind to a halt (although team members may “go through the motions” to look like they are collaborating, results are few and the quality is poor.)
Getting Past Perceived Inauthenticity
You can never fully “prove” your authentic appreciation for a person. At the same time, there are practical steps that can be taken:
When employees and staff members truly feel valued and appreciated good things happen. Morale improves, productivity increases, and creative problem-solving is more likely to occur. The small steps taken to communicate appreciation can have a huge positive impact on a business.