WN#25: Companies Need Good Managers That Create Happy Employees and Customers

This week's exploring leadership and management, entrepreneurship and startup, some pieces of advice, and more. I hope you like it.

Hi, everybody!

I wish you a good year in 2021! The 25th issue of the newsletter, but the 1st of this year. Sorry for the delay. I hope it will be anyway a good start.

Do you remember that I shared tips for writing new year’s resolutions in the past issue? I don’t know if you’re used to it, but I did mine, a review from last year’s goals and setting up current’s. It is an excellent exercise. It is impossible to achieve all purposes, but it helps in thinking about what we can work on and improve in our pursuit of happiness.

There’s one goal related to this newsletter. To gain more time to spend with the family, friends, or me, I will try to write it during the weekdays, send it on Friday or Saturday morning, and probably every two weeks. Honestly, I have failed today, but Rome wasn’t built in one day.

This week, my main topic is focused on being a better manager to improve employee satisfaction. So, this week you’ll find Leadership and Management, Entrepreneurship and Startup, pieces of Advice, and many other exciting tweets. I hope you find anything interesting in this week’s selection.

As I always end this introduction, please, do not hesitate to add your comments or share your feedback. One of my goals is to learn from you. And if you like it, please share it. The more we are, the more we will share and have fun.

If I succeed with my resolution, I hope to see you next Friday. Thanks for reading it, and stay safe!


⚙️ Companies Need Good Managers That Create Happy Employees and Customers

Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.

- Vaughn Aust

You have probably heard or read many quotes about employee or customer satisfaction like the previous one and its relationship. Find below another good one.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.

- Stephen R. Covey

But did you ever saw in numbers how it is really related? Countless studies show the empirical relation between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and company profitability. Check out the correlation between employee satisfaction and performance from the following figure.

It turns out that there’s a correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, among other important indicators. This is what everybody knows, but not everybody leads by example.

How Could We Improve Workers’ Job Satisfaction?

This topic, and other insights, is explained in the article The boss factor: Making the world a better place through workplace relationships from a McKinsey article shared by Alex Osterwalder.

As Alex saidcompanies would have a much bigger social impact by creating happy employees than by donating or giving backPanem et circenses is not a good strategy if you are looking for lasting results.

But, before digging into job satisfaction, there’s an interesting fact in the connection between happiness at work and overall life satisfaction. So, improving employee happiness really makes a difference, enhancing organizational health, and not only performing better.

McKinsey has an Organizational Health Index (OHI) and analyzed how concrete actions turn out to improve results.

Bosses as a Factor of Employee Satisfaction

When it comes to employee happiness, bosses play a more significant role than one might guess. Relationships with management are the top factor in employees’ job satisfaction, which is also the second most important determinant of employees’ overall well-being. Only mental health is more important for overall life satisfaction.

Most people find that their managers are far from ideal. In a recent survey, 75 percent of survey participants said that the most stressful aspect of their job was their immediate boss, which reported substantially lower job satisfaction than those with very good and quite good relationships.

The article highlights two aspects that allow managers to make a good workplace:

  • Good work organization: providing workers with the context, guidance, tools, and autonomy to minimize frustration and make their jobs meaningful.

  • Psychological safety: the absence of interpersonal fear as a driver of employee behavior. In the words of Amy C. Edmondson, it isn't about being nice. It's about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes, and learning from each other.

A good manager instills a sense of trust and confidence, creating an environment where workers can feel empowered and often receive positive feedback from customers and colleagues.

Also, a safe and collaborative environment fosters people's creativity and innovation, a sense of achievement, and communication, raising issues when things don't go well.

Building a Sense of Trust

By chance, I also read this week the article from HBR, The 3 Elements of Trust, a study or assessment where they identified three key elements with the major correlation with trust enablement.

  • Positive Relationships. A leader can create positive relationships with other people and groups, foster collaboration, resolve conflicts and help with issues that concern them, and enable candor feedback.

  • Good Judgement/Expertise. Leaders might be well-informed and knowledgeable. They must understand the technical aspects of the work and have a depth of experience to use good judgment when making decisions and anticipating issues. People do trust their ideas and opinions and seek after their views.

  • Consistency. People rate higher leaders who are role models, set a good example, lead by example, and walk their talk and do what they say they will do. 

But, are all three elements needed to build trust? And have all of them the same impact? On their analysts, they were able to rate the effect of the three factors of trust.

It is very interesting to see that Relationships had the most substantial impact than Judgement and Consistency.

Servant Leaders Sell, but Nobody's Buying?

Mckinsey's research shows that a servant leader mentality and disposition enhances both team performance and satisfaction. Studies also suggest that managers themselves are happier and find their roles more meaningful when they feel they are helping other people.

But few bosses manage to commit to it fully. Research also suggests that only 30 percent of the most productive individuals are likely to become the kind of leaders that prioritize and support employee satisfaction.

It turns out that the best performers are not always the best managers because there will be needed different skills.

This reminded me about The Peter Principle, which states that a person who is competent at their job will earn a promotion to a position that requires different skills. If the promoted person lacks the skills required for the new role, they will be incompetent at the new level, and will not be promoted again. If the person is competent in the new role, they will be promoted again and will continue to be promoted until reaching a level at which they are incompetent, and so will remain stuck at this "Final Placement" or "Peter's Plateau."

On the other hand, people are also more likely to be promoted into management when they exhibit self-confidence, build extensive networks, and navigate organizational politics with ease—a recipe for disaster.

How to Be a Good Manager

The article shares a list of changes that managers can make to improve the workplace happiness of the people who report to them. These micro-actions often count more than larger, structural changes. Find below four practices that have proven to be effective:

  • Empathy, compassion, and vulnerability: A manager who genuinely cares about an employee’s well-being tends to be curious about it. Sincerely showing empathy no matter the answer creates an opportunity for employees to raise issues and feel safe.

  • Gratitude: Being thanked makes people feel valued. Celebrating small achievements helps people face more considerable challenges. 

  • Positivity: Giving positive feedback builds employee confidence and reinforces beneficial behaviors. Unconditional positive regard (the practice of validating feelings, withholding judgment, and offering support) bolsters motivation and fosters authenticity. 

  • Awareness and self-care: Being a supportive and compassionate manager is easier for those who are themselves aware of. Leaders must first relate to and help themselves before they can do the same for others.

Suppose a manager’s organization does not reinforce such behaviors. In that case, a manager needs to build its own system of cues, routines, and rewards to help consolidate these actions as habits.

Sometimes the organization doesn’t help or even go in the wrong direction, but that doesn’t always mean that we can’t do anything on our own. Little changes can make a big difference.

Changing the Mindset in an Organization

I am not going into deep into this topic. Still, I wanted to share that people, managers, leaders who take this message seriously can draw on well-established literature for how to change mindsets and behaviors in an organization.

In another article from McKinsey, they show that only four ingredients are required, four key actions that can influence employee mindsets and behavior:

  • Role modeling

  • Fostering understanding and conviction

  • Developing talent and skills

  • Reinforcing with formal mechanisms

The article also regrets how often leaders still embark on large-scale change efforts without seriously focusing on building conviction or reinforcing it through formal mechanisms, developing skills, and role modeling. As they defend, all four together make a bigger impact.

The Road so Far

To summarize, the article shows that:

  • There's a correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and there's a connection between happiness at work and overall life satisfaction.

  • Relationships with management are the top factor in employees' job satisfaction. And two aspects were identified to allow managers to make a better workplace: Good work organization and Psychological safety. A safe and collaborative environment fosters people's creativity and innovation, a sense of achievement, and improve communication.

  • A good manager instills a sense of trust and confidence, and we read that there are three elements of trust: Positive Relationships, Good Judgement/Expertise, and Consistency. And Relationships seem to matter the most.

  • A servant leader mentality and disposition enhance team performance and satisfaction, but few bosses manage to commit to it fully.

  • And there are many micro-actions and practices that managers can use to improve the workplace happiness of the people who report to them: Empathy, compassion, and vulnerability, showing gratitude, unconditional positivity, awareness (and self-awareness), and self-care.

If you are interested in the topic, I recommend you read the full article and the publications and research included.

As if it was a new year resolution, what about growing ourselves to be a better colleague, manager, and boss, focusing on enhancing employee satisfaction (the people around us) and, by relation, customer satisfaction?

💲 Alex Tew and the Million Dollar Homepage

During the lockdown, I shared some information about the success of meditation Apps. And last December, Calm application raised $75M for a $2Bn valuation. There were several threads with the details.

It is surprising to see that Headspace had started two years before, but Calm achieved greater success and revenue. You could find in the following tweet some insights about how they achieved that success.

But the story here is not about Calm and its success. It was an introduction to arrive at the following Tweet about Alex Tew, Calm Co-Founder, and Co-CEO, who also did his first million building the Million Dollar Homepage. Please, check it out.

I didn’t remember about it. The premise seems to be simple: How to make a million dollars? By selling 1 million pixels in a website named Million Dollar Homepage. It may sound stupid, but he achieved it in one year.

And his story didn’t stop there. During his early success struggled with anxiety, and his mental health interest brought him to build another website named donothingfor2minutes.com for a 2-minute meditation while listening to ocean waves. Later, he turned it into an App, and Calm was born.

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

- Steve Jobs

🎓 Lessons on Life, Career, Entrepreneurship, and Startup

Maybe by the result of a trend, by chance, or fate, but I found different tweets with a similar purpose and content, which I decided to share here.

Romeen Sheth shared 20 must-have lessons from successful investors, founders, and executives. In a similar way, Greg Isenberg shared lessons from 5 billionaires.

Both of them share lessons about life, career, wealth, startup, relationships, etc. You could think that they are common sense, but common sense is the least common of the senses.

Check them and compare. You will find similarities like the following one that I am going to include here:

Romeen:

  • Don’t get high on your own supply. Be nice. Life's too short and being a jerk really isn't cool.

  • Find your anchor: Religion, Family, Friends, Kids. Whatever it is, find it. Life only gets more complicated as you grow older. Anchors help keep it simple - they remind us what actually matters.

Greg:

  • When in doubt, please don't send that angry email response Wait 24h. Go for a walk Angriness makes you drunk. Send emails sobers

  • Likable people win. People sense those good vibes. It does wonders for your startup, career or life.

Also, sharing his own perspective, Austin Rief, co-founder of Morning Brew, shared insights from his past 10 years, from cofounding and selling a business.

"I learn more from speaking with others than reading" is complete nonsense.

"Follow your passion" is complete crap.

The best advice I ever received was to increase your "luck surface area": Work hard, Befriend like-minded people, Learn faster than others. If you do that, you will get lucky at some point.

Inside social media, you could find good but also tons of bad advice. In the following tweet from Nick Huber, you could find some of them.

And last but not least, Ed Batista, executive coach, also shared his recommendations for first-time CEOs. As Bob Sutton also shared, an important insight is that the lack of empathy associated with power is a two-way street. A manager should provide emotional support to their people, but who supports the boss?

🌎 Bits of Advice for 2021

The single best predictor of behavior is ease, more than price, or quality, or comfort, or desire, or satisfaction. Overall, the easier something is to do, the more likely people are to do it.

Daniel Pink, the bestselling author, shared this quote from Zoe Chance, included in the article Advice for a Better 2021—According to the Research.

This year 2021 started dramatically, and while some things are different and we are not permanently in the groundhog day, it seems to will be again a challenging year. And this is the article's idea to bring the lessons of the last year to the next. I will share below some of them and add my own opinions.

  • Use Your Platforms for Good: Use social media carefully but more effectively, and avoid and fight misinformation. We've seen social media being used as a tool to feed polarization. If we want to defend freedom or freedom of expression, we should fight there those who bully, threaten, and directly or indirectly cause any harm.

  • Look Back at the Year for Lessons: Last year was an intense year, with lots of learnings. As the year happens to be intense again, doing a retrospective and take this learning from the right and wrong things will be helpful.

  • Practice Social Responsibility: You don't have to be a social entrepreneur, but we can all learn from the principles, mindset, and skill set of social entrepreneurship to increase our impact on society. Whatever your job is, ask yourself how you might contribute to shifting the status quo to help create new and more just equilibria.

  • Recognize the Unsung Heroes around You: Feel appreciation for the less well-celebrated heroes around us. Of course, this includes critical care and public safety workers, along with delivery workers, grocery workers, and those restaurant workers still employed. As Adam Grant tweeted, behind every story of "self-made" success is a group of unsung heroes who cleared obstacles and created opportunities.

  • Make It Easier to Make Changes: If you want to influence another person's behavior, the most critical thing you can do is make it easier for them to do that desired thing or harder for them not to do it. Please keep it simple.

🐦 Before Ending, Some Interesting Tweets

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, summarized his top tweets of the last year.

I can’t avoid sharing Dan Rose’s experiences. Always worth it.

A story about how a creative solution (a workaround) can make a difference and provide the momentum.

In the following thread, Bilal analyzes Polina’s excellent video about Elon Musk's thinking principles.


And thanks for reading it. I hope you liked it!

Probably, if you see this, you found something interesting in this issue. If you liked the content, and you think it could like others, why not sharing?

Please, do not hesitate to add any comments. I am open to any suggestions, so if you want to add a comment or contact me, I encourage you to do it.