How strong is Gravity in your workplace?

If you grew up in the mid-70’s your Saturday mornings were probably filled with cartoons from Schoolhouse Rock.  To this day, I can still recall the lyrics to “I’m just a bill.”  You may already be singing along.

I recently saw a clip “Gravity” on YouTube and it was a nice stroll down memory lane.  I saw this on the heels of spending a few days with a client focusing on coaching employees to performance that produces real results.  And wouldn’t you know it, this little animated song on gravity reminded me of some important leadership truths. Before we begin, feel free to watch “Gravity” here.

Scientifically speaking, gravity is the force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall toward the center of the earth and Sir Isaac Newton is often credited with articulating and proving this phenomenon.  But in layman’s terms, what goes up will always come done.

So, what can leaders learn from the science of gravity? If physical objects can fall, are there areas within the workplace that are also subject to the laws of gravity?  Consider these three truths:

#1 Confidence and trust falls.
Performance in any organization is directly tied to the strength of relationships within the organization.  And these relationships must be nurtured, a.k.a. supported, in order to survive.  If leaders demonstrate inconsistencies in their words and actions, over time the confidence, belief and trust deteriorate.  Motives are questioned regardless of how much the leader communicates.

#2 Engagement  falls.
The domino effect continues. If relationships are not supported, individual engagement will suffer.  Engagement is a two-way street.  Yes, it is the employee’s responsibility to show up, commit 100% and be involved in daily tasks.  Leaders must also contribute by creating an environment that encourages employee involvement.  This perhaps is one of the most difficult tasks facing leaders today – not because interaction is difficult; however it is often neglected due to the many other demands on time.

#3 Performance falls.
When enthusiasm falls, attention to detail and accuracy will naturally follow.  Over time, a lack of engagement will eventually impact performance.  The dangerous consequence is in most situations performance declines gradually not suddenly. So one day the manager observes one employee or the entire team and wonders, “how did we get here?”

Gravity is an interesting scientific truth to observe.  It’s funny, you can’t save up support for those times you need it.  Objects must have support at all times or they quickly fall to the ground.

Hmm…the same can be said in our workplace.  Your team needs support all the time, for without it, they begin to tumble too.  Need to freshen up your awareness? Then sit back sing a little Schoolhouse Rock and let’s learn like we did when we were kids.

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