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It’s been a few weeks since the US election. Many journalists and politicians have analyzed the results and declared various reasons contributing to the Trump victory. In my opinion, it’s simple. A large population base felt disconnected, unheard and frustrated. They wanted change at any cost.

It was no secret that one of Hillary’s challenges was her difficulty in connecting with the voters. She was polished, prepared and knowledgeable. Her facts were correct (most of the time) and she had loads of experience but the emotional connection was lacking. Donald on the other hand, ignited emotions and called people to action with rhetoric and falsehoods. Rational thinking gets trumped (no pun intended) by emotions whether we like it or not.

I can’t help but compare this to the current organizational landscape and ponder how this basic need we have for connection unfolds in the workplace. Sadly, it doesn’t look very good. A Gallup report about the State of the American workplace showed that 70% of workers are disengaged and a report on Global Human Capital Trends from Bersin by Deloitte showed that 57% of people are overwhelmed at work. It appears that employees feel disengaged, uninspired and frustrated, similar to what we heard from American voters.
This election reminded us that people want to be heard and feel connected to their leaders. While organizations don’t rely on a democratic voting process to hire their leaders, they do need employees to feel motivated, engaged and inspired to drive profits. If employees could vote, would you still have the same leaders in place?  Would people vote for you?  How would your leadership style change with a democratic voting process? Would the organization function differently?
I’m not implying that organizations need to be democracies. What I am doing is challenging leaders to think about how you are connecting with the employees in your company.  Do you know how your messages and actions are being perceived?  How well are you listening?  Good intent and excellent facts aren’t enough. People need to feel connected. Being a leader in today’s chaotic business environment is not an easy task.  However, the ability to collaborate, listen and connect with people is incredibly important if you want to be profitable and keep employee turnover minimized. We can’t change the election results but we can change how we operate in our workplaces.
Carolyn Swora
Carolyn Swora is a workplace culture architect who facilitates development in three core areas; Courage, Resilience and Belonging. Join Carolyn in a conversation via email, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Carolyn’s book, “Rules of Engagement”, is available on Amazon. You can also listen to PWE & ME, Carolyn’s Podcast.