Pinterest is all about idealism. It allows its users to create the perfect version of everything - from their homes to their gardens, meals, clothes, hair, and even cupcakes. Although Pinterest is the embodiment of all things perfect, its workplace was not.
This became evident when Pinterest shareholders sued company executives, including CEO Ben Silbermann, for nurturing toxic workplace culture in December 2020. As alleged in the lawsuit, Pinterest's CEO repeatedly put himself before the company, surrounded himself with yes-men and, to make things worse, ignored or silenced employees who raised concerns.
In cases like the above, it is a challenge to figure out why an experienced leader, with a track record of success, is suddenly not able to meet expectations. What goes wrong? As you gain power, confidence, and control, it's easy to get wrapped up in the act of leadership and lose sight of what’s really significant.
The hurdle to leadership success
Even before the pandemic, unanticipated leadership crisis plagued many companies. Organizations lag behind not due to circumstantial changes but due to leaders’ aversion to adjust to them. In order to remain competitive, leaders must not only be able to adapt, but also have the foresight to do so. Take the Great Attrition, for instance. Employees are quitting their jobs at record rates and cite a lack of connection with the company as a major reason. In addition to a desire to feel valued and be treated as individuals, employees also want companies to act in more compassionate ways - a need that requires leaders to consider the well-being of their employees and establish a human connection that goes beyond business.
How can they do that?
Building adaptability is one means to establish a human connection with your employees. When you are adaptable, you create an environment where your relationships with employees can flourish, as well as cultivate your own self-awareness. As we continue to witness the remote-work scenario of Covid-19, stress is continuously damaging productivity, well-being, and motivation. Eventually, leaders must adapt to re-energize their teams, identify and diagnose recurring issues, and help them when needed.
To achieve these goals:
Know your ingredients, not just the recipe
In order to inspire employees, it is important to know the people you are leading. Leaders are expected to understand their employees' tendencies, aptitudes, and behaviors well enough to inspire them and best work with them. Spend time getting to know your employees. The more a leader gets to know an employee, the more likely they are to feel inspired by them. To create the best recipe for success, great leaders take the time to learn the ingredients i.e., their employees.
Create an environment that fosters employee growth
In a survey conducted by CareerAddict.com, 82% of respondents said they would leave their current job due to lack of career development opportunities.” This is a call to action for all leaders. What can leaders do to foster employee growth? One way to do so is to offer career advancement opportunities. This motivates employees to persevere through difficult times and stick with the company.
Working with your staff to outline development goals is an important aspect of your leadership role. So, first, discuss the type of career your employee wishes to pursue. Next, develop a plan that involves both their professional development and their personal interests. Lastly, offer your team a chance to visualize their future, and aid them in their journey to grow both professionally and personally.
Imagine leading a group of motivated individuals who look forward to coming to work and doing their best every single day. You can see this in the best workplaces, such as Google or Microsoft, where employee well-being and mindfulness are top priorities. Google is a leading example of healthy workplace culture. Comparably has awarded Google nine awards in 2021 based on employee feedback, including "Best Global Cultural 2021" and "Best Places to work in Los Angeles 2021". 80% of Google employees believe that their work environment is positive.
Mindful leadership delivers results like these. Being mindful is not only a life-changing process for yourself but also for your organization. An organization that embraces a 24/7, 360-degree model of mindfulness for their business will have a culture and employee performance that is unsurpassed. It’s a simple equation, if you show your employees that you care, they will pay you back a million times over and ensure that you always prosper.
When the question is “why do leaders don’t succeed?” The answer is a reluctance to deal with the workforce in a compassionate, mindful way. By showing their employees appreciation, respect, and care, leaders can avert many leadership pitfalls. All it takes is a little time and a lot of compassion.